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Health Effects of Sitting too Long at Work

Health Effects of Sitting too Long at Work

Admin | Apr 10, 2017 - 12:55 AM

Sitting for more than three hours at a stretch on a daily basis is substantially detrimental to health. And it may be a primary reason for nearly 4% of all-cause mortality rates in the world. Let’s take a look at health effects of sitting at work and how to overcome them.

Yes. You heard that right. One in every 25 deaths across the globe can be easily attributed to the sedentary lifestyle that has become too common, especially among working professionals in the corporate domain. Just ask yourself, how long do you keep sitting in your chair at the office? If the answer is anything more than 3 hours, it’s truly time to make a change.

Effects of sitting too long at work – What do the reports confirm?

In a report published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, it was stated that mortality rates across the globe are often due to long sitting hours. Additionally, the gains in life expectancy related to the elimination of this risk factor. The report very clearly mentions that nearly 4% of all global deaths happened due to long sitting hours.

It was deduced that over 60% of the worldwide population spent more than three hours sitting – the average came out to be 4.7 hours. Experts preparing the report also mentioned that reducing the amount of sitting time by nearly 2 hours, would result in at least 2.3% decrease in mortality rates. Even a small lessening of 10% can reduce mortality by 0.6%.

What can be done about it?

It has been proven that a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to health and eventually it will have a detrimental effect on your work performance. You might choose to work out after office. However, that will also be of not much help either. Researchers at Mayo Clinic believe that moving around all day is the ideal situation.

What can employers do to ensure employees’ good health?

Well, changing a long sedentary lifestyle overnight is not an easy task. And also, it ‘s hard to work in an office in a mobile manner. So, what’s the ideal situation? As a change cannot happen overnight, an equal participation of all the stakeholders involved must be initiated. While employees should make it a point to take short breaks every two hours, HR policies could be modified to introduce health plans at the workplace.

However, health plans should be flexible enough to address employees’ work routine. Wellness programs must be designed keeping in mind the comfort level of employees. They should be motivated to be a part of such programs and not do it out of compulsion. Integrating gamified and wellness programs into daily work routine can be a good idea and can act as a positive reinforcement. Companies like Google, Adobe, Amazon and others have incorporated such policies and have reported higher productivity along with longer employee retention.

What can employees do for themselves?

However, individual efforts also go a long way in ensuring the health, even if it is in the workplace. Ensure your work day involves a substantial percentage of physical activities. Take short breaks, go up to the café and fetch water yourself, take stairs whenever you can. Simplest way – take a short walk in every two hours. Such small efforts will add on in the long run and secure better health.


So, why not do yourself and your professional life a favor of watching over your health by starting to move around the workplace. Your health and your professional career will eventually thank you for it.

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