Pulled muscles and sore joints are common complaints after strenuous physical activity, but research suggests the pains we feel at the end of the day are the result of what we don’t do
The average person sits for up to 10 hours a day between his or her commute, work, and nightly screen time.
Researchers at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute say that prolonged sitting is a unique occupational health issue with adverse effects such as weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Sitting slows the metabolism, affecting the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure and sugar, and break down fat.
Workspaces were often designed to increase productivity by keeping workers seated at desks. Today, with more emphasis on employee well-being, organizations are introducing standing desks, fitness-ball chairs and other ergonomic furnishings. While these changes can provide some benefits, they may not be enough.
“It’s about breaking up prolonged sitting,” suggests Dr. Maureen Ashe, associate professor of family practice at the University of British Columbia.
Research with a focus on bone health and preventative measures, suggests Ashe, who studies bone health in the aging population, will help to better understand the contributing factors of sedentary activity in relation to hip fractures and prolonged recovery times later on in life.
If your workspace doesn’t allow much opportunity for movement, Ashe, who is also a physiotherapist and researcher at Vancouver’s Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, gives these tips:
- Send fewer internal emails and instead go see your colleagues.
- Take your phone calls standing up.
- Send a print job to a printer further from your desk.
- Use a washroom on a different floor and take the stairs.
- Consider standing meetings: they get more people out of their chairs and lead to shorter meetings!
- Set reminders on your phone or computer to alert you to get up and stretch.
- Wear a step-counter or fitness tracker to keep track and maintain levels of activity.
- If taking transit, get off before your regular stop and walk.