Being sedentary is dangerous for your health and, in Western countries, it’s happening more and more. In Switzerland, a recent study by the Federal Statistics Office has shown that people between the ages of 15 and 74 years old sit for 4-5 hours a day. One sixth of people interviewed sit for more than 8.5 hours a day.
Sitting too long can cause many issues: back pain, heart problems, muscular degeneration, joint issues, diabetes, obesity and even cancer. In fact, being sedentary kills more people than tobacco! The risk of premature death increases by 15% when we sit 8 hours a day and can even reach 40% for those who sit more than 11 hours a day.
Office workers, in particular, don’t get enough exercise and office workers represents two thirds of all employees in Switzerland. This means that an impressive number of people are impacted. So how can we sit at a computer screen all day without putting our health in danger?
Lacking the ability to get up and move or special desks that allow you to work standing, there are a few tricks to try to avoid issues later. At the office, get up every 2-3 hours and walk, relax or stretch. Basically, risks increase when you sit for long periods without getting up. At the office, stand up when you’re on the phone or get up regularly to get a coffee or a file. Get up to talk to your co-workers instead of sending them an email, use the stairs instead of the elevator and don’t eat lunch at your desk. Once you leave the office, you need to walk briskly for a minimum of 30 minutes each day and participate in other physical activities 2-3 times a week.
To stay healthy, getting up and moving regularly lets you work more efficiently because your brain works better and you are less tired.