Are you one of the many people out who sit too much because of your job? Well, you have to know that the lack of activity and staying in a seated position for a long time could have serious effects contributing to joint pain, weight gain and back pain. There are steps out there that you can take in order to offset the damage that prolonged sitting causes.

On top of back pain and joint pain, sitting too much is harmful to your health. It might not be obvious but spending up to 8 hours each day sitting at your desk is very similar to being bed ridden. Your activity level is very minimal and this is a significant concern. One study published in the British Medical Journal showed that spending 3 hours or less sitting every day, can increase your life expectancy by up to 2 years. But with many Australians racking up 8 to 10 hours of sitting each day, reducing this time to under 3 hours may seem like a far stretch.

A lot of other studies have revealed that sitting for long hours doubles the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Physical inactivity, such as sitting, is now a major contributor to illnesses and disease, just like smoking and obesity are. However, with less people smoking and more and more people sitting, sitting has been labeled as the new smoking of this century.

What to Do

The solution is so simple – we need to move more and sit less. In fact, research has shown that every 2 hours, we should complete 3 minutes of moderate activity such as walking. Now that’s not a huge ask to steal back 3 minutes of time every 2 hours to get up and go for a quick walk around the block or the office.
Set yourself a reoccurring activity in your outlook calendar for 3 minutes of activity every 2 hours. This will help you remember to stop what you are doing and take that important activity break.

Stand Desks

One of the simplest means to lessen sitting is to just stand at work. Standing desks have been accessible for many years now and are very much accepted in the office. Some cubicles are made to allow the work surface to accommodate a standing desk. Working while standing is natural and it needs almost no learning experience. Introducing a standing desk will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend sitting each day and is classed as a more physically active task then sitting is.

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  • Replying to MommieP:

    Great question – yes, absolutely – firstly, it’s important that we don’t stand too long, as this can also cause some health hazards. I suggest a rotation of: 20 mins sitting, 8 minutes standing, 2 minutes moving.

    Secondly, ensure you stand with feet hip distance apart, and that the rest of your body is aligned ergonomically in the way that you would sitting – top of screen is at eye level, elbows are at desk height or just above desk height, most used peripherals are close to you, and your body is very close to the edge of the desk (for more accessible access to desk items without reaching).

    Hope this has helped answer your question!

    Julia Hillen, Occupational Therapist, NMPE.

  • Hi Anything to note when using a standing desk in terms of posture or bad habits? Noticed I tend to favour one leg as support while standing. thank you

  • Hi Anything to note when using a standing desk in terms of posture or bad habits? Noticed I tend to favour one leg as support while standing. thank you

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