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This is the second post of a three-part series on the principles for achieving well-being and productivity while working on a computer.

Studies show that on average, people spend more than seven hours of the day engaged in sedentary behavior. Surprised? Think about your day – how long do you sit at work or school without taking a break? In the evenings, how many hours do you spend watching TV, attending a sporting event or playing video games? Test out our sitting calculator to see exactly how much you sit each day.

The hours add up quickly with children and adults typically sitting as much as 80 percent of their day. And the consequences are significant. Non-communicable, lifestyle diseases are now the number one cause of mortality worldwide, surpassing infectious diseases. Sedentary behavior is linked to metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes and even cancer.

“Prolonged sitting, particularly in work settings, can cause health problems, and encouraging work places to offer employee alternatives to sitting all day will help to create a healthier workforce.”
Patrice Harris, American Medical Association board member

Unfortunately, extra hours spent in the gym or jogging around the neighborhood can’t mitigate the negative effects of sitting. For your best health, try reducing your sitting at least two hours each day, while getting at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. You’ll continue to burn more calories outside of the gym by standing intermittently at work versus sitting. To see just how many more, use our calorie burn calculator tool.

Add movement to your work day

Employers – and employees – are beginning to realize that excessive sitting at the office has a negative impact on well-being and performance. Working in a confined space also adds an extra element of risk to a job. Research shows that movement activates muscles and revitalizes your metabolism – a key factor in overall well-being. Facts are facts, whether sitting or standing, people need space to move.

Find ways to move throughout your work day by incorporating activity without impacting your productivity. Not sure where to start? Try these simple tips:

  • Take the stairs: When you can, opt for the extra physical activity by taking the stairs versus the elevator. This extra cardio throughout the day can improve your focus and offer an easy way to move more at work.
  • Walking meetings: Meeting time can be just as productive on-the-go. Skip the conference room and lace up your tennis shoes before taking a lap inside or outside your office building. You’ll get what you need accomplished professionally while racking up the steps.
  • Stand for phone calls: Chances are, you spend a good amount of time each day on the phone. From conference calls to quick catch-ups, phone time quickly adds up just like screen time. Instead of sitting during your calls, stand up at your desk or better yet, take a lap around the office if you have a mobile headset.
  • Move your printer away from your desk: This tip can apply to any office item. Intentionally move your printer, trash can or other office supplies further away from your desk, so you’re forced to stand and move regularly throughout the day.

Incorporating movement into your workday routine can take time, but as you build new habits, you’ll see your energy, productivity and well-being increase. Now that’s something worth standing for.

Be sure to explore this site for more tips on adding movement to the workplace!

Carrie Schmitz

Senior Manager of Human Factors & Ergonomics Research, AOEAS, CH at Ergotron

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