A 2021 report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work defined prolonged sitting as being sedentary for two hours or longer at a time, the data shows that 39% of workers undertake their work whilst sitting down and any of us reading this at a desk will know we’re generally here for more than two hours at a time.
Many of us no longer have a commute as a result of working from home and modern technology whilst enhancing our lives in many respects also indirectly encourages a sedentary lifestyle from instructing Alexa to ‘ turn the lights on’ to talking into the Sky remote – we’re not moving enough – at work or at home, it’s a fact.
What’s the real impact?
Higher amounts of sedentary behaviour in adults are associated with poor health outcomes such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and type 2 diabetes whilst prolonged sitting and standing can be directly related to musculoskeletal disorders and if all that sounds dramatic – well it is, a study in the US tracked 40,000 people through to their death over a 16-year period and found the leading cause of death was low cardiorespiratory fitness.
How can organisations address this?
Educating teams and employees on the impact of sedentary behaviours both in and out of the workplace should be part of your health and safety policies and advice, your employees are of little use to you if they are ill as a result of their working practices and the education on workplace safety always starts with you.
Beyond this businesses can take practical steps to encourage physical fitness and movement as part of workplace culture whether that’s walking meetings, standing desks or encouraging individuals to eat lunch away from their desks. Organisations can also include regular physical activity as part of team building and the social element of working life whether that’s early morning yoga sessions, five-a-side football or subsidised gym memberships promoting the benefits of an active lifestyle is a wise investment for your business.
Want to know more about encouraging active lifestyles as part of health and safety? Get in touch for a free consultation.
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