Got a desk job? Get moving or risk your health

Wednesday 12th January, 2011

Scientists have called on desk-bound workers to get up and move about more or risk poor heart health and weight problems.

Research has shown that taking even a brief stretch of the legs away from your desk can mitigate the ill-effects of sitting for too long.

A new study of 4,757 workers found that people who spend most of the day sitting down at a desk job had smaller waists and better heart health the more breaks they took, even if the break was just for one minute.

Results showed that some people took up to ten times more breaks than co-workers with the most breaks at 1,258 over seven days. The least amount of breaks taken was just 99.

Increased rates of obesity and diabetes have been attributed to society’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle and careers that involve being sat down for most of the day.

The study published in the European Heart Journal examined associations of sedentary time and breaks with cardio-metabolic and inflammatory risk biomarkers.

“Our research showed that even small changes, which could be as little as standing up for one minute, might help to lower this health risk. ‘Stand up, move more, more often’, could be used as a slogan to get the message across,” said Genevieve Healy, of the University of Queensland, Australia, who led the study.

Recommendations in the report include:

  • Standing up when taking a phone call
  • Walking to see a colleague rather than phoning or emailing
  • Having standing meetings
  • Placing rubbish bins and printers in a central location so workers have to walk to use them
  • Using toilets on different levels of the building and using the stairs rather than the lift to get there


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