Experts are recommending office workers stand up for at least two hours a day, in a warning against the health risks of sitting too much.
Recently, we wrote about the effects too much sitting can have on your body, with a recent study finding that people who sit down too much are at risk of life threatening illnesses, even with regular exercise.
Now for the first time, workers have been provided with quantifiable targets for getting out of their seats. British experts are recommending office workers stand for at least two hours a day, and build up to four hours a day. Co-commissioned by Public Health England, the guidelines were published online this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
According to the study, office workers spend 65 per cent to 75 per cent of their working hours sitting, half of which is in prolonged periods of sustained sitting.
The hazards of sitting too much have been compared to smoking, with research suggesting that those who sit most are more than twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a 13 per cent increased risk of cancer, and a 17 per cent risk of premature death.
The study authors, including experts from the UK, US and Australia, are calling for a revolution in the workplace through the use of sit-stand adjustable desks, standing-based work and regular walkabouts.
Sit-stand adjustable desks are relatively expensive and are not commonly seen in offices (only 1 per cent of office workers in the UK have access to them), but the study insists the benefits — improved productivity, less absenteeism, and reduced healthcare costs — will make the investment worth it for employers.
The study authors have urged further research into whether facilities such as toilets should be moved further away from staff. They’re also looking into the idea of replacing emails with hand-delivered messages and employees having alarms on computers or personal motion assessment devices prompting them to move.
Do you think Australian offices should start using sit-stand adjustable desks? Do you have any other ideas to get people up and moving during the work day? Have your say in the comments below!