Office Workers Advised to Stand for at Least 2 Hours a Day
Experts are advising office workers to increase the amount of time they spend standing each day. A study co-commissioned by Public Health England has highlighted the health issues that sitting behind a desk all day can cause, prompting researchers to suggest setting a daily quota of standing time.
The researchers used existing scientific evidence to compare those who spend prolonged periods of time sitting to those who are less sedentary, and found that the former are more than twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They also seem to have a 13% increased risk of cancer and 17% higher chance of premature mortality.
The authors wrote: “For those working in offices, 65-75 per cent of their working hours are spent sitting, of which more than 50 per cent of this is accumulated in prolonged periods of sustained sitting.” The report continues to explain that simply getting office employees to stand is a good way to start improving their health. “Employers need to evaluate the best ways to achieve this, whether through changing how and when people can take breaks from sitting, which involve standing and movement, or through workstation designs.”
The researchers recommend that workers should make sure to spend at least two hours a day standing, and that this should be increased over time to four hours, with regular walks around the office. They also say that offices should have some higher desks where people can carry out their work while standing.
“This research supports the chief medical officer’s recommendations,” says Dr Ann Hopkins, deputy director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England. “Being active is good for physical and mental health. Simple changes to break up long periods of sitting can make a huge difference. However, more research needs to be carried out before daily targets for workplace activity are recommended.”