With chronic illness now being linked to sedentary behaviour, health advocates are lobbying for a shift in office norms. Recent studies have found that sitting for prolonged periods of time on a regular basis can increase risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation and musculoskeletal problems, particularly with the back and feet.
According to Alan Hedge, an ergonomics professor at Cornell University, “The key is breaking up your activity throughout the day. Sitting all day and standing all day are both bad for you.”
Last year, the British Journal of Sports Medicine brought together a panel of experts from around the world to come up with guidelines around body positioning and movement at work. According to the intro to these guidelines, “The set of recommendations was developed from the totality of the current evidence, including long-term epidemiological studies and interventional studies of getting workers to stand and/or move more frequently.” In other words, they were thorough!
The panel concluded that desk-based full-time workers should start with 2 hours per day of standing and light activity, working up to 4 hours per day. As for the standing, we recommend talking to your boss about investing in a desk that can be easily adjusted from a sitting desk to a standing desk. If your workplace can’t supply an adjustable desk, they’ll probably be more than happy for you to purchase your own and have it delivered to the office.
Light activity could be walking, stretching or a quick office workout. We’ve put together three moves that will you get you out of your seat, raise your heart rate a little and give brain a much-needed break.
1. Get into the position below, keeping your bum level with your back
2. Hold for 1 minute
1. Position hands on the two front corners of the chair
2. Slide your bum off and hover with your legs at a right angle
3. Slowly lower your bum by bending your elbows
4. Slowly raise your bum back up by straightening elbows
5. Do 20 dips
1. Stand with your feet a littler wider than hip width apart
2. Lower your bum as if you’re going to sit in a chair, doing your best to keep your knees above your feet instead of in front of them
3. Hold for 1 minute
Sources: BJSM, BJSM, The Australian