Prolonged sitting has adverse consequences on our physical and mental wellbeing, yet as society we have created an office-based economy. Sitting has been dubbed the ‘new smoking’ as a multitude of serious health risks may be connected to ‘prolonged’ and ‘excessive’ sitting, and are causing as many deaths as smoking.
Increases sedentary behaviours
An office-based economy has created millions of people who sit at a desk all day, with minimum movement. Sitting raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. European researchers found that people who work 10 hours or more every day have a 60% greater risk of a multitude of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and angina.
Inactivity is difficult to counteract
When we spend on average 8.9 hours each day sitting, it can be hard to counter that level of inactivity with exercise. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. All levels of physical activity are good for our physical and mental wellbeing, we are advised to exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, and reduce our sitting time. It isn’t just exercise we need to be doing, we also need to move more within our working day.
Creates bad posture
Sitting for prolonged periods of time puts huge stress on your back muscles, neck and spine. It can also lead to bad posture, and contribute to long-term ailments, including arthritis and bursitis. No matter how comfortable of a chair you have, you still need to get up and move around every hour or so.
Negative impact on mental health
More than a third of UK employees say their working environment is having a negative effect on their mental state of mind. 67% of those are also calling for employers and employees to share responsibility and to do more to manage mental resilience and mindfulness in the workplace. For 40% of workers, a mental health issue had arisen due to the negative impact of a physical ailment. Therefore, it is important for employers to ensure staff feel comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace, and make sure staff are equipped to provide support where needed.