“Time to stand up to this ticking time bomb we’re all sitting on”
I write this column as I sit at my desk – and that is the problem.
You see, a new study co-commissioned by Public Health England warns that office workers are sitting on their backside for far too long.
Regardless of exercise, sitting for extended periods of time can lead to (wait for it) heart disease; diabetes; obesity; cancer; back ache; dementia; depression and muscle degeneration.
The campaign website getbritainstanding.org has a handy calculator to work out how long you spend sat down during the day.
Apparently I spend 10 hours and 30 minutes on my backside, which the website warns me (in capital letters inside a red box) makes my ‘risk level’ HIGH.
So now I’m concerned.
I’m told that for those sitting more than seven hours a day, there is a 5 per cent increased risk of premature death with each additional hour off their feet.
There is a massive public health issue facing this country, which will put a huge burden on the NHS – and one which I and many others are contributing to.
The study’s authors call for a revolution in the workplace through the use of sit-stand desks, standing-based work and regular walkabouts.
They also urge further research into whether facilities such as toilets should be moved further away from staff, some emails could be replaced by hand-delivered messages and employees could have alarms on computers or personal motion assessment devices prompting them to move.
While these may seem unrealistic, apparently in Scandanavia (it’s always Scandanavia, isn’t it?) employers take this all very seriously and have given staff a more healthy office environment.
Still, it’s unlikely office workers in unenlightened Britain are going to get a sit-stand desk any time soon.
But perhaps we can all do our bit to ensure we’re not quite so sedentary.
For my part, I’m going to make sure I answer the phone standing up.
Perhaps I may even start drinking tea, so that I can wander over to the kitchen to make a cuppa.
Hang on, I could even start smoking, that would get me on my feet...