1 min read

7 major health risks of sedentary work

By Alanna Furlan

A sedentary lifestyle is becoming increasingly common among workers, particularly for those who work in an office environment, with more than 75% of the office workday spent sitting. Sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time can be damaging to health, and for many workers this extends for much longer periods.

7 major health risks of sedentary work

Workers required to undertake sedentary work are at increased risk of developing:

  • high blood pressure;
  • heart disease;
  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • cancer;
  • diabetes; and
  • obesity.

If your workers spend a significant amount of time sitting, you could be breaching your health and safety obligations to provide a safe system of work by not reducing your workers’ sedentary time.

8 practical tips to get your workers moving

The good news is there are lots of things you can do to encourage your workers to be more physically active, including:

  • changing work systems, e.g. providing sit-stand workstations and conducting standing meetings;
  • redesigning work tasks, if possible, to enable greater variability in movement or posture;
  • providing workers with regular breaks that involve physical activity, such as walking;
  • encouraging workers to ride their bikes to work or catch public transport rather than drive;
  • providing workers with corporate gym memberships;
  • encouraging workers to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes;
  • organising physical activities for workers, such as a friendly cricket match; and
  • setting up a pedometer challenge for workers to walk 10,000 steps a day.

Workers who are given regular breaks and who engage in physical activity are also likely to be more productive, and are less likely to suffer aches and pains and other illnesses associated with sitting for long periods.

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