Our sedentary lives increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. This is therefore also referred to as ‘the new smoking’. But a large-scale review study has confirmed that moving around more can reduce the risk of these diseases and the best place to start with this is at work.
Public Health England invited a group of scientists to publicise the dangers of prolonged periods of sedentary work. "Seventy percent of the time that we spend sitting down is when we are at work. Therefore, the best place to start is by reducing that ", said one of the researchers.
The recommendations from the study are based on epidemiological studies and interventional studies in which employees have to stand and/or walk more often. The results clearly showed that sitting for a prolonged period entails an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It can also significantly shorten the lifespan.
The recommendation is that when they have a desk job, employees must first aim to stand and move around a little for two hours a day. This can be achieved by frequently alternating between sitting work and standing work, for example, by using adjustable desks or planning in short active breaks. According to the study, to achieve an optimal health benefit, people have to work towards this 4 hours each work day. The researchers do not comment on the feasibility of the advice in their study.
Buckley JP, Hedge A, Yates T, Copeland RJ, Loosemore M, Hamer M, Bradley G, Dunstan DW, The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company, Br J Sports Med. 2015 Jun 1.