Some offices have implemented stand-up work stations to decrease sitting time.  If not, try standing while talking on the phone, or stand every one to two hours.
Some offices have implemented stand-up work stations to decrease sitting time. If not, try standing while talking on the phone, or stand every one to two hours.

Sitting down at work is a health hazard waiting to happen

WORKING nine to five doesn't mean you have to be chained to your desk.

Accredited exercise physiologist Katie Lyndon said that technology has sped-up our working lives, but as a result working Queensland adults can be sitting for over seven hours a day.

"It can creep up on you and without knowing," said Katie.

"This leaves most office workers as sitting ducks for health complications.

"You might sit while driving or catching public transport, at a desk at work, while eating lunch and then back home, only to sit in front of the TV or computer.

"Before you know it, you can have spent over seven hours sitting."

By simply standing or moving more throughout the day, you can avoid a variety of health concerns including being overweight, unhealthy blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes or heart disease, as well as mental illness, poor muscle tone and posture.

"Ideally we all need to minimise the amount of time spent sitting, especially considering that almost one in eight adults sit for seven or more hours each day," Katie continued.

"I would encourage everyone to ask themselves - how long do I sit every day?

"Even if you are completing daily exercise, like a morning walk or going to the gym, it is important to your health that you are not sitting for hours on end throughout the day.

"We all have the power to change - some simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference in your health and happiness," she said.

Katie suggests trying some of the following tips to build more movement into your day:

  • At work:
    • Stand when you are speaking on the phone
    • Place your rubbish bin on the other side of the room so you need to stand up to get rid of rubbish
    • Set an alarm reminder on your work computer to stand up every 1-2 hours
    • Rather than emailing a colleague make the effort to walk to their desk to deliver a message.
    • Lunch breaks are a perfect time to go for walk no matter your work environment.
  • Complete simple exercises at your desk, during the ad break of your favourite TV show, or while you are waiting for the kettle to boil. These may include:
    • squats on the spot,
    • punches above your head,
    • marching high knees,
    • repetitively raising onto your 'tippy toes'.
  • Take the stairs where possible - avoid lifts or escalators.
  • Ditch the car. Even if it's too far to walk or cycle the whole way to work, take public transport and power walk to and from the train or bus station. You could even consider parking or getting off public transport a few blocks away from your place of work.
  • Walk and talk. If you are catching up with friends, or have a work meeting, swap the café or boardroom for the great outdoors.
  • Make positive steps towards your workplace's health, organise a 10,000 Steps Challenge for your office. The 10,000 Steps workplace program provides free access to resources to assist in coordinating virtual team challenges. To find out more go to: http://www.10000steps.org.au

If you need some inspiration, or don't know where to start with an exercise regime, the Get Healthy service is a free and confidential phone coaching service that provides information and support for you to make healthy lifestyle changes. Get up to 10 free coaching calls with a personal health coach.

To find out more call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).



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