Sitting is the new smoking

‘Sitting is the new smoking,’ says Anup Kanodia, a physician and researcher at Wexner Medical Centre in Ohio.

Concern about risks to the health of sedentary workers and potential impact on businesses is on the rise.

Sedentary behaviours are a known risk factor for cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and premature death.

’Move more, sit less’, an initiative of the Bluearth Foundation, aims to address the serious health dangers associated with our increasingly sedentary lives.

Wendy Gillett, Bluearth CEO, said the average Australian now sits for more than nine hours a day.

‘Office workers will spend 80,000 hours of their life sitting. This is not what our bodies are designed to do! We are built for motion, not stillness,’ she said.

While two thirds suffer from tension and pain in the shoulder and neck, more than half have back problems, with around 45 per cent experiencing eye problems and headaches.

Equally concerning is research suggesting no amount of exercise can combat the detrimental health impact of too much sitting for prolonged periods.

Some control measures include:

  • Reviewing and revising job and task design to minimise sitting time.
  • Varying work tasks throughout a shift to encourage posture change and muscle use.
  • Promote a ‘standing-friendly culture’ – a standing reading area and standing at meetings.
  • Introduce height adjustable desks so employees can work standing or sitting.
  • Encourage workers to walk over and talk to colleagues instead of emailing.
  • Suggest workers use the stairs instead of the lift and use a bathroom further away.
  • Encourage workers to eat lunch away from their desk.

Watch this short video and make your pledge to move more and sit less. We have.

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