Chair disease: are you a sitting duck?

We all know we need to sit less. But how much is too much sitting?

According to the stats, 50% of Australian workers have jobs that involve sitting at least some of the time. 8-10 hours is the average daily sedentary time of adults using objective measurement data. 

As we know, prolonged sitting is associated with a variety of health problems including diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, obesity, poor mental health, some cancers, and premature death (Safe Work Australia, 2019).

The negative health effects from prolonged sitting are due to insufficient movement and muscle activity, low energy expenditure, not moving enough, and not changing posture enough (Safe Work Australia, 2019). Prolonged sitting is like UV radiation. You need a little exposure daily, but not too much.

How are you going to MOVE more in your day when you are stuck at a desk?

The Hedge’s 3S Ideal Work Pattern

An example of the latest best practice for movement while working is the Hedge's 3S Ideal Work Pattern.  This is an evidence-based, recommended work schedule that can be optimised when using a sit-stand desk (Hedge, 2020).  

 Based on research studies Prof. Alan Hedge recommends:

  • 20 minutes sitting (in a good posture) 
  • 8 minutes standing (for sit-stand workstations)
  • 2 minutes of stretching (gentle moving, walking etc.      

For a 7.5 hours workday (lunch is excluded) this means a daily regimen with a total of: 

  • 5 hours of sitting
  • 2 hours of standing
  • 0.5 hours of stretching
  • 6 sit-to-stand transitions

So, how do you incorporate more movement into your day:

  • Eat lunch outside or at least eat away from your desk
  • Stand for coffee, tea, and water breaks
  • Use a small glass for water so that you are up regularly to refill it (and regularly for toilet breaks!)
  • If you are using a standing desk, leave the standing desk up at the end of the working day, so that when you arrive in the morning, voila, the desk will already be up standing!
  • Organise 'standing/walking meetings' with your colleagues
  • Use your Outlook calendar reminders to alarm/ ding to help if you lose track of time
  • Short walks around the house/ into the garden/ balcony
  • Stand when talking on the phone (use your earphones)
  • Regular short walks to the printer are also 'incidental walking' as is taking the stairs, not the lift if you can.
  • Park a short distance away from your work or getting off a stop early from the bus or train.

 Get moving everyone!