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Cheyham Lodge, 11 Cheam Road, Ewell Village, Epsom, Surrey KT17 1ST

Don’t just sit there !

According to a consensus statement from a panel of experts published online June 1 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, if you work in a predominantly desk-based occupation you should be getting out of your office chairs and accumulating at least 2 hours a day of standing and walking during working hours. Workers are recommended to break sitting tasks by periodically standing up to work, using sit-stand desks, and taking short active standing breaks, advises an expert panel led by John P. Buckley, PhD, an exercise physiologist at the University of Chester’s Institute of Medicine in the United Kingdom.

American ergonomist Allan Hedge, PhD, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, agrees; “The research evidence supports action now,” he told Medscape Medical News. “Numerous studies show that interspersing periods of sitting with standing and moving/strolling benefits circulatory function and helps regulate risk factors for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. In the last 5 years, mounting observational evidence has linked sedentary living and working with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, musculoskeletal problems, and even death..

The panel also cautions that prolonged static standing postures need to be avoided as much as their seated counterparts, and that “movement does need to be checked and corrected on a regular basis especially in the presence of any musculoskeletal sensations.” As for concerns about harms from working on your feet, the statement notes that occupational standing with seated and walking breaks has not been causally linked to low back and neck pain, and can even provide relief, it says.

There is a growing market in sit-stand attachments for desks and adjustable sit-stand desktops but it is relatively small & in the meantime a simple first step could be just to get people standing and moving more frequently as part of their working day.

Despite supporting the immediate launch of the standing campaign, the panelists cite the need for large-scale prospective randomized trials assessing the effects of standing and light activity interventions in real office environments. These studies should evaluate such initiatives as movement-friendly spaces at work; computer-based activity prompts; alarmed personal motion assessment devices; locating washrooms, kitchens, and meeting places on different floors; promoting stairs over elevators; standing meetings; and delivering messages in person.

Br J Sports Med. Published online June 1, 2015. Full text

Mr Katesmark comments “It is important to realize that if your job involves primarily sitting, it is not enough to exercise occasionally in your leisure time (by going to the gym etc). Daily activity during working hours is also vital to keep your joints & circulation healthy. Using the stairs, occasionally standing whilst using the phone, gentle stretching exercises (such as those recommended for long haul flights ), and a stroll at lunchtime are all effective yet easy ways to incorporate activity into office life”

For more specific postural advise or exercises please contact the clinic on 020 8393 3038