Especially prolonged unbroken sitting time is associated with a range of health problems including musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, some cancers and premature mortality.
While an increase in the use of information technology may be responsible for our sedentary behaviour, our transport to and from work, leisure activities and occupation are all contributing factors.
Safe Work Australia’s literature review on sedentary work shows that negative health effects from prolonged sitting are due to insufficient movement and muscle activity, low energy expenditure and a lack of changes in posture.
Safe Work Australia CEO Michelle Baxter said sedentary work research shows that workers should aim to substitute sitting with standing or walking when possible.
“Sitting for longer than 30 minutes without a mini-break, and sitting all day at work is likely to be detrimental to health,” said Ms Baxter.
“Early evidence suggests occupational interventions targeting sitting reduction can substantially reduce occupational sitting, at least in office workplaces.”
These interventions include using substitution and breaks to minimise the total time spent sitting and to break up periods of sitting at work.
“In essence, our literature review suggests that employers and workers should aim for small and frequent changes from sitting as much as possible and less time sitting in total,” said Ms Baxter.
Source: Safe Work Australia