Our bodies are designed for regular movement but studies are showing that even if you undertake the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day if you spend the rest of your day sitting, it can substantially affect your mortality risk. 65% of an average person’s day is sedentary, that’s 9-10 hours per day for adults! (Dr Stacy Clemes, Setting the Scene- How Much Time Do We Sit?)
Studies from the British Medical Journal https://www.bmj.com are showing that illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers all have increased risk when comparing those who sit the most, against those who sit the least. Also, mental health risks are higher, with studies showing increased risks of anxiety and depression for those who are more sedentary.
The government is actively behind initiatives to get us all moving more through its Start Active Stay Active https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/start-active-stay-active-a-report-on-physical-activity-from-the-four-home-countries-chief-medical-officers campaign. Below is a nice little PDF summarising health risks and how we can minimise them.
So what can you do on a daily basis to mitigate these increased health risks:
- Set a reminder on your PC so that for every 50 minutes you are sat at your desk you get up do something, just make a cup of tea, pop to the toilet, go and speak to a colleague rather than send an email!
- Set your printer to one that isn’t so close to your desk
- Use a pedometer or app on your phone to aim for the 10,000 recommended daily steps. This will help to add some motivation to move.
- If you can use a sit/stand desk or ergonomic chair
- Fidget – tap your feet, squeeze a squidgy ball, do mobility exercises at your desk.
- Use a headset for telephone calls and walk around whilst on the call.
- Try to schedule walking meetings if at all possible.
Other information on the health risks of extended sitting is available in the British Medical Journal (link below)