Sitting: What are the implications of sitting for a long time?

Research has showed that on average in the UK people spend 8.9 hours each day sitting down. This can be more if your job involves you spending your entire working day at a sitting desk. Unfortunately, there are several negative health implications for spending a long time sitting.

Health implications from sitting are often linked to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, musculoskeletal issues, and even premature death.

Poor posture from sitting all day can cause strains and aches on the back, hips and neck. It is important when in the workplace to carry out and desk and chair assessment. The upper back should be straight, and shoulders relaxed. The chair should support the lower back and hips. It is important to be able to adjust your chair so that your eyes are in line with the computer monitor. Feet should be flat on the ground or resting on a footrest.

Sitting for a long-time result in deactivating our gluteal muscles. The less engaged we are with our muscles the tighter our hips, hamstrings and quads become, this in turn leads to pain in our lower back, knees, neck and shoulders.

The University of Leicester carried out a study that found that exercising for two and a half hours each week can aid to counteract the effect of sitting all day. Ideally you need to introduce movement and activity within the working day to stay supple and mobile.

Deskercise is one way to introduce movement whilst in the office. Sitting on an exercise ball instead of chair can keep your back and hips supple. Stretching and rolling the shoulders whilst as your desk can also help keep the body moving. Some offices have implemented tread mill desks and adjustable height work stations so that employees can pick and choose when they sit or stand.

A simple deskercise routine can be to let your arms hang by your side whilst you shake out your arms, hands and fingers. Carry out some shoulder shrugs and then roll them in a circular motion forwards and backwards. Stand on one leg and move your raised ankle and leg in a circular motion (carry this out on both legs)

You can get inventive for example squatting to your chair or using two water bottles are dumbbells!

It is important that through out the day employees take regular breaks. Stand up, stretch your legs and walk about for five minutes every hour. Increasing movement can be through walking or standing meetings or taking the stairs instead of the lift.

To sustain productivity going outside and getting some fresh air during your lunch break can help de-stress and re focus the mind. It is also important for your eyes to have a break from staring at a computer screen.

BDHL is an employee benefits specialist. We provide a boutique, impartial and knowledgeable service. Working will all the leading health and group risk insurance companies, our team monitors the healthcare marketplace to ensure that as a broker we deliver the most current advice to our clients on the many choices of products and policies available.

If you need a tailored employee benefits platform for your employees then speak to one of our friendly account managers today on +44(0)1892 891900 or email