Spending too much of your day sitting at work, sitting whilst commuting and generally engaging in a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of developing a range of health issues.
It is not necessary to do vigorous exercise to reduce the health risks associated with prolonged sitting; just punctuating prolonged periods of sitting with walking around is sufficient. People who break up their sedentary time throughout the day, regardless of their total sedentary time, have a better health profile. It’s all relative to moving the muscles.
It doesn't really matter what activity you do once you're up – the key to better health lies in getting up frequently. Your best posture is your next posture
- Introduce height adjustable workstations and allow staff to conduct some aspects of their work standing at this workstation. If possible set up a shared computer at this work point.
- Vary work tasks throughout the day as much as possible to enable a change in posture. Print documents in small batches, stand to read or speak on the phone
- Promote and encourage a standing-friendly culture e.g. encourage staff to stand during meetings or have a regular ‘standing’ agenda meeting item
- In the event you are required to sit for long periods, do some calf raises and stretches
- Use ‘imails’ – walk over and talk – instead of emails to colleagues
- Use a bathroom or drink fountain that is further away
- Use the stairs instead of the lift
- Eat lunch away from the workstation -walk around campus
- Organise walking groups at lunch time
- Stand on public transport, walk from the train station
The Health & Safety Services team have created the Office Ergonomics - Stretching and Moving video to assist staff. It shows stretching exercises help to relax muscles that have been working dynamically and move thoses which have been held in a fixed position. Stretching is helpful in maintaining good, neutral posture as it helps release overly tight muscles that can pull you out of postural alignment.
The Federal Government has information on sedentary work practices to help employers and employees understand and address the health hazards associated with prolonged sitting.
Vic Health has also released a useful publication, reducing prolonged sitting.