Sit up and take note of this ad­vice

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS -

OF­FICE work­ers spend more than half of their daily wak­ing time – more than eight hours – sit­ting down.

But ac­cord­ing to a Curtin Univer­sity pro­fes­sor it takes only about half an hour of con­tin­u­ous sit­ting be­fore the se­ri­ous dam­age can start.

Phys­io­ther­apy pro­fes­sional Leon Straker said the dan­gers of sit­ting for long pe­ri­ods went well be­yond back pain and could in­clude an ear­lier death.

“Sit­ting looks in­nocu­ous but it’s re­ally crept up in a stealth way,” he said.

“There’s good ev­i­dence that says if you spend more than 20-30 min­utes sit­ting down things start to change in the sug­ars and fats in your body, which can then lead to things like heart dis­ease, di­a­betes and men­tal health is­sues.”

Mr Straker la­belled the av­er­age of­fice worker as the worst of­fender with the high­est risk.

“We rec­om­mend peo­ple change their pos­ture ev­ery half hour, but that can be quite hard for lots of of­fice work­ers,” he said.

“Hu­man bod­ies are de­signed for spo­radic move­ment, but now that com­put­ers are so pow­er­ful there’s no real need to get up.”

Mr Straker said any ac­tiv­ity at work was good, but it would be most sus­tain­able if it en­sured pro­duc­tiv­ity was not com­pro­mised.

“It works quite well to think about your day, and plan for things that will force you to get up,” he said.

“I make sure I have to walk places, like if I had a meet­ing with some­one we would have a walk­ing meet­ing as op­posed to sit­ting in a board­room. Some peo­ple have egg timers go off at in­ter­vals, and en­cour­age them to stand up.”

There are con­cerns about health ef­fects of stay­ing seated.

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