Everyday health: A quick guide on how to beat the curse of sitting down all day

Sitting down all day is a sure-fire way to store up health problems
David Clegg

SITTING for nine hours a day more than doubles your odds of an early death, a study in the British Medical Journal revealed. It is thought that sitting for long periods increases the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Here, Ashley James, an occupational health physiotherapist from IPRS Health, explains how to stay more active at work.


Try parking your car far away from work so that you have to walk to the office, and walk over to talk to colleagues rather than emailing them. I put a Post-it note on my screen in the office that says ‘move'. It will catch my eye and prompt me to walk around.


Costing from £400, standing desks and treadmill desks (a workstation attached to a treadmill, allowing you to walk as you work) are increasingly popular. The crucial part is being active. If you have a standing desk, there could be a benefit to raising and lowering it throughout the day so that you are doing half an hour of sitting followed by half an hour of standing.


I tell clients to pick one thing to start with and do that consistently for two weeks. Then we add in another thing and another. For example, you could start by walking to work for two weeks and then, once you get into the practice of not driving to work, you could try cycling.


Lounging around on the sofa may be worse than sitting in the office. Try doing push-ups, squats and planks – exercises that can be done in small spaces without equipment.

NHS guidelines recommend the average person aged between 19 to 64 does 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (you should be sweating but able to have a conversation) or 75 minutes of intense exercise a week, along with two strength sessions.

If you are sedentary for more than nine hours a day, you need to do 45 to 60 minutes of intense exercise every day.


There is no one exercise that is better than others but, whichever you choose, you need to enjoy if you are to keep it up.

© Solo dmg media

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