3 ways to reduce sitting time at work
Three different strategies to reduce the amount of time people spend sitting at work seemed effective, in a new study. But in jobs without flexible schedules, they only reduced sitting time by about 8 minutes per day.
Research has linked excessive sitting to high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease. Hitting the gym outside work hours doesn’t seem to fully offset those risks.
Employees in office desk jobs should keep in mind their total amount of sitting time, and times spent sitting without a break for 30 minutes or more, Leon Straker, who worked on the study, said.
“Breaking up long periods of sitting with a short active break – like walking to get a drink – is probably the easiest thing to do for most workers, but the challenge is to remember and actually move,” he said.
He and his colleagues tested three models for getting office employees up and moving. They randomly assigned Australians from three different workplaces to get one of the anti-sitting interventions.
1. Have access to active workstations, with treadmill or cycling desks, which they were recommended to use for 10 to 30 minutes several times per day.
2. A “traditional exercise” group promoted light to moderate physical activity on breaks and before and after work.
3. The third group adopted ergonomic workstations, broke up computer tasks and practiced “active sitting,” which involves moving around more often and periodically perching on the edge of the chair.
These techniques might be best for people able to manage their own time, with flexible working hours and self-monitored breaks, the authors wrote.
Of the three offices used for the study, one — which primarily was concerned with data processing — had scheduling flexibility, and its workers saw the greatest reduction in sitting time with the interventions. The other two organisations were more rigid and their workers had smaller reductions.
In each case the effects were small, but could be significant if everyone took part at work, Mark Tremblay said.Reuters