The Seduction of Sitting – Breaking Up is Never Easy

We’ve written about the dangers of sitting before and highlighted some of the recent research into the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on your overall wellbeing in a Washington Post article, ‘Too much sitting may have some serious health effects – even if you exercise’.

We know that all of you want to move more and at times struggle to do this within an office based environment. To help you with that, we will be writing a series of 4 articles over the coming weeks to educate you further about the dangers of not moving enough during the day and how you can change that in your office.

Let’s start by admitting that our culture is obsessed with reducing the amount of movement each of us does, hence the title of our article, The Seduction of Sitting.  Whether it’s encouraging someone to ‘take a seat’, the latest labour saving device, or the fact that our towns and cities are increasingly designed with cars rather than people in mind, we are encouraged to rest our butt practically everywhere we go and it is also often seen as rude if we do not accept a seat.

As human beings however, we are biologically designed to move often and when we don’t, our brain and body feels the strain. From lethargy and lack of focus (because we have been sitting on our butt for hours on end without a break), or the ever so common back, neck and shoulder pain, the symptoms of what is now called Office Syndrome can be seen everywhere.  In fact, we haven’t yet met a single individual in an office who hasn’t suffered from some or all of the complaints associated with it.

So how can you create a movement for More Movement at Work?  The starting point is education and self-awareness about your current movement pattenrs.  With this in mind, have a go at the following Sum of Sitting Exercise below and see how many hours you sit and your patterns of movement during the day.

The Sum of Sitting and Not Moving Exercise

  1. What time to do you get out of bed to go to work? _________
  2. How long do you sit down when having breakfast? _________
  3. How long do you sit down on your journey to work? ________
  4. What time do you sit down at your desk? _________
  5. How long do you sit during the morning up until lunchtime? _________
  6. Do you make a conscious effort to take movement breaks (this could be chair based stretching, standing stretching or going for a walk)?
  7. What do you do at lunch time? _____________________________________
  8. If it involves sitting, how long for? ____________
  9. How long do you sit during the afternoon until the time you go home? ________
  10. Do you consciously make an effort to move, stretch or walk around during the afternoon?
  11. How long do you sit on your journey home? ________
  12. How many hours are you sitting down for in the evening (consider dinner, TV watching, gaming, reading, social media time)? _________
  13. What time do you go to bed? ______________
  14. Do you take regular exercise of 30 minutes or more x 3 per week? ______________
  15. On average, how many hours are you awake per day? _________________________

 

  • Add together the number of hours from questions 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11 and 12 to get your Total Sitting Hours per day.
  • If you replied yes to questions 6, 10 and 14 you can deduct 2 hours from your overall total. Now you can check out your risk category below.

 

risk of sitting

Now that you know just how much you move, our challenge to you is to introduce 1 extra hour of movement or standing into each day.  To help you with that here are some of our tried and tested recommendations for creating more movement at work.  We also love this fun video from just www.juststand.org about breaking up your long term relationship with your chair.

  • Diarize stretch breaks during the day, every 60-90 minutes
  • Go for a walk at lunch time
  • Host stand up meetings
  • Have walking meetings
  • Take phone calls standing up and use a headset
  • Use the stairs every time
  • Rather than send an email, walk to your colleague and talk
  • Don’t order your food in, go and get it

 

Remember that small changes can have a huge impact and that little by little you can achieve a lot.

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