Prolonged Sitting Has Been Shown To Be Life Shortening. Have you ever sat down and worked out how long you sit each day? Add up all the time spent having meals, watching TV, in front of electronic devices, in the car, at work, reading or coffee-dates with friends.
Don’t be surprised if it all adds up to more than seven hours a day.
Research indicates most adults in Western countries spend between nine and 11 hours sitting per day. But what many people don’t realize is that prolonged sitting, without any active breaks, has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and early death. Even if you vigorously exercise in between times, sitting for most of day at a desk and then watching TV all night is life shortening.
Which is why several countries across the globe have introduced “Stand up, sit less, move more” campaigns in an attempt to both educate people about the dangers of prolonged sitting, and to suggest alternative ways of doing things, particular at work, to get people up from their desks.
What research has been done?
Employees at a Spanish University took part in the current study published in the International Journal Of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity that aimed to investigate which aspects of a “Stand up” campaign worked in a real workplace.
Researchers found that devices that monitor sitting time or log step count, particularly those that provided web-based visual representation, were the most effective at changing sedentary office behavior. Study participants were generally good at taking advantage of opportunities to integrate incidental movement into their work day by choosing more distant printers or moving round the office when on the phone or reading documents.
Strategies that had the least uptake were lunchtime walking groups and walk-talk meetings. But the biggest barrier to getting up and moving around was screen-based work. Time-pressures and excessive workloads made it difficult for many employees to leave their workstation every 30 minutes.
The authors suggested this highlights the importance of providing workstation alternatives such as stand up or treadmill desks.
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Bort-Roig J, Martin M, Puig-Ribera A, et al. Uptake and factors that influence the use of ‘sit less, move more’ occupational intervention strategies in Spanish office employees. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2014, 11:152 doi:10.1186/s12966-014-0152-6
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