There are plenty of good things associated with working in an office – comfortable work environments, economic security and social interactions, for example. One thing that many people don’t like about office jobs, however, is the fact that they sometimes require us to sit for hours at a time. In recent years, as medical professionals have become increasingly concerned about the impact a sedentary lifestyle can have on a person’s health, many office workers have taken steps to reduce the amount of time they spend seated during the day. In some cases, employees might choose to work at standing desks. In others, they might simply make a point to get up and take a quick lap around the office every hour or two.
Recently, a multi-national collective of research teams collaborated to find out whether taking periodic breaks from sitting could have a measurable impact on the health of office employees. The result?
Workers who reduced their sitting time by 71 minutes demonstrated a 0.61 reduction in body fat over the course of three months. To encourage employees to sit less, the researchers conducted “interventions” wherein they supplied workers with sit-stand desks and made various environmental changes to their offices that allowed them to take regular breaks from sitting down.
“A reduction in sitting time by 71 minutes per day and increases in interruptions could have positive effects and, in the long run, could be associated with reduced risk of heart diseases, diabetes and all-cause mortality, especially among those who are inactive in their leisure time,” said Janne Tolstrup of the University of Southern Denmark.
By staying mindful of their activity levels and making small changes to their daily routines, office workers can minimize the health risks associated with sitting for long periods of time.