Would you consider yourself a ‘couch potato’? This is a person who is physically active in their leisure time, but who also spends long periods of time sat time, which isn’t unusual for many office workers.
However, it seems employees are wrongly assuming that keeping active during leisure time will protect them from the danger of sitting all day, a study has discovered.
Published this week by the scientific journal Occupational Medicine, researchers asked 222 desk-based workers and 121 managers to rate the healthiness of various combinations of sitting and physical activities during work and leisure time.
It found that many employees didn’t understand the harmful effects of workplace sitting, as it is often linked to chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
“Uninterrupted sitting constitutes a substantial risk to physical and mental health. There are known associations with poor musculoskeletal health, a range of cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. There is a common yet incorrect belief that prolonged workplace sitting is not problematic if a person is physically active during their recreational time,” said Study author, Dr Mussap.
Dr Mussap shares his tips to help prevent workplace sitting:
“The best approach to tackling this issue is the combination of health education about the risks of workplace sitting along with practical strategies for reducing or interrupting workplace sitting,” he added.
“This can be as easy as installing timed alerts or sending automated emails to remind people to move around, providing sit-stand workstations that allow workers to adjust their posture throughout the workday and organising fun group breaks where people are invited to stand up and stretch or even dance around.”