If you’re like me and have a desk job and currently working from home, much of the day is spent sitting in front of a screen. Looking back at pre-COVID, there was much more movement in our work environments: meeting people in person, commuting to the office (ideally by walking or biking), going out for lunches, etc. But in today’s reality, the commute is only a few metres and all meetings and interactions are done virtually from the desktop.
Several studies over the years have concluded that too much sitting can lead to real health problems. Some experts have even claimed that sitting for extended periods of time can be as damaging as smoking.
There have been interesting insights into the psychology of sitting from work done by the Behavioral Science Institute at Radboud University. They found people tend to change posture more often in the afternoon and sit for extended periods of time in the mornings. The average office worker also changes position from sitting to standing approximately 100 times a day. The purpose of this study was to develop interventions to help with more healthy sitting behaviour.
It is easy to be stuck in a chair for hours, especially when work is engaging, or deadlines are looming. So here are several simple strategies to sit less and move more at work:
- Use smaller coffee or water cups. This will force you to get up and refill periodically
- Stand up whenever you are texting or speaking on the phone (people still use phones right?)
- Don’t eat breakfast or lunch at your desk –forces you to stand up and change position
- Set a timer and take short activity breaks throughout the day. This can include a short walk, stretching , or something more rigorous like pushups or jumping jacks
- Invest in an adjustable standing desk