Practice partner and senior musculoskeletal physiotherapist Helen MacDevitt offers some tips and advice.
Recent research has found that it’s not just about how much physical activity you get, but the amount of time spent sitting that can increase your risk of premature death! The study which followed over 123,000 people over a 13 year period, identified that women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 % more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day. Men who sat more than 6 hours a day were 18% more likely to die than those who sat fewer than 3 hours per day.
When combined with a lack of general physical activity, the association was even stronger. Women and men who both sat more and were less physically active were 94% and 48% more likely, respectively, to die compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active. Heart and blood related illness followed by cancer were the most common causes of death.
Take a moment to consider how many hours a day you spend sitting down! Between commuting to and from work, sitting at your desk or in meetings and relaxing at home in the evenings, it is not uncommon to spend up to 10 hours a day (and sometimes more) in a static seated position. Not only will your spine and posture benefit from regular movement but so will your heart and lungs
Examples of how you can move and still work:
• Instead of emailing a colleague, walk to their desk and give them the message or leave a post- it.
• If you are reading a paper document, stand up or lean against a wall to read out
• Keep a small bottle of water on your desk, drink and refill it 3-4 times a day.
• Before your answer your phone, stand up!
• While standing at the printer or photocopier, stretch your arms overhead to lengthen your spine.
• Take the stairs between floors rather than using the lift.
• On your lunch break, leave the office to get a short breath of air – even a brief 10 minute burst of outdoor exercise will refresh you physically and mentally
1. Alpa V. Patel, Leslie Bernstein, Anusila Deka, Heather Spencer Feigelson, Peter T. Campbell, 5 Susan M. Gapstur, Graham A. Colditz, and Michael J. Thun. Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2010; DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwq155