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Are you moving like this to counteract the impact of sitting?

on Tuesday, 11 September 2018. Posted in Office Ergonomics

exercise at work

Work related sedentary behaviours are on the increase, both at the office and in our travel to and from work. Most of us realise that sedentary behaviour is not that good for us. Indeed, it can seriously impact our health, being a risk factor for both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. We should therefore move to improve! But, how much is good enough? And, how often should we move?

Dr Peddie of Otago University and her colleagues have found that regular, short breaks, make an important difference!

In her research, Peddie found that regular activity breaks are more effective than continuous physical activity. Her study showed that regularly breaking prolonged sitting with short (1 min 40s) bouts of activity is more effective than a single continuous (30 min) bout of physical activity at lowering glucose levels (after meals) and insulin concentrations in healthy, normal-weight adults. 

She therefore recommends that we break periods of prolonged sitting with brief bouts of activity. This might include such things as walking down the hallway, using a standing desk, getting up to stretch, walking to the kitchen to get a drink of water, walking around the block at lunch-time or going to talk to a colleague rather than emailing them.

There are some good free apps available that we can download on our computer to remind us to take a short break, every 30 mins e.g. There are also free phone apps we can programme to 'beep' at us at regular intervals, as well as technologies such as Apple watches and fit-bits. 

Warning! While you might feel good about taking more regular breaks, remember not to replace your regular, longer, physical activity (such as gym, walking, sports games etc) with your regular breaks. Rather, we should view regularly breaking periods of prolonged sitting as supplementary to regularly participating in longer and more intense bouts of physical activity.

So, get moving regularly! Take regular short breaks at work and keep up your longer periods of exercise out of work. And, enjoy the health benefits that result.


Meredith Peddie, Julia L Bone, Nancy J Rehrer, C Murray Skeaff, Andrew R Gray, Tracy L Perry. 2013. Breaking prolonged sitting reduces postprandial glycemia in healthy, normal-weight adults: a randomized crossover trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 98, Issue 2, 1 August 2013, Pages 358–366,

Concerned about work related discomfort, pain and injury?

Consider a Computer Workstation Assessment for you (and your staff) in order to ensure you are ergonomically set-up at your computer. Our expert will discuss correct stretching and postural advice with you as well.

Joyworkz also offer a group seminar - 'Be a Happy Computer User' - that explains the causes of OOS, RSI, DPI (Discomfort, pain and injury) and Trigger Points. The seminar includes ways to avoid DPI including regular movement during the day, as well as stretching and other strategies.

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