Sitting has become a normal feature of most workplaces—the default for white-collar workers. It’s comfortable to sit for extended periods of time, so naturally, we’ve found ourselves as habitually seated creatures.
However, recent findings suggest that there are serious health consequences to sitting for prolonged periods of time on a regular basis. So what can we do about it?
Health Consequences of Sitting
Sedentary behavior, which includes sitting for many hours at a time (and several days a week), increases your health risk for at least the following conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
It seems obvious that little to no physical exercise throughout the day could cause cardiovascular disease and obesity, but studies have found that even the addition of regular exercise sessions don’t negate the effects of chronic sitting. Physical exercise is good, and can improve your health, but if you still find yourself sitting for eight hours a day, you won’t escape the health risk factors that are associated with it.
Should you attempt to stand all day instead? Not so fast—standing too much can also have health consequences, including varicose veins, back and foot problems, and even carotid artery disease. Instead, the solution is to diversify your activity throughout the day. For every 30 minutes you spend sitting, the ideal worker would spend about 20 minutes sitting, 8 minutes standing, and 2 minutes moving around and stretching.
Obviously, it’s hard to accommodate this pattern precisely, but anything you can do to break up the pattern of chronic sitting can improve your health and the health of your employees. Making your employees and team members aware of this can help you improve employee health, morale, and even productivity—and might even save your company on injury and healthcare costs.
If you’re interested in learning more about how wellness and injury prevention programs can save your company money, be sure to contact us!