Prolonged sitting at desk damages physical and mental health
According to the findings of a recent study conducted by scientists at the British Psychological Society, professionals whose job profiles demand prolonged sitting hours run a risk of higher body mass index score and decreased mental well-being.
For the purpose of the study, the researchers tracked physical activity of over 1,000 employees for 18 months between 2009 and 2011.
All participants were required to respond to both online as well as written surveys designed to gauge employees’ physical activity levels. Researchers also culled data about the employees’ use of occupational health services.
Findings of the study
About 70 percent of the participants did not meet the recommended guidelines for exercise, findings reveal.
Furthermore, people who spent more hours sitting at work were also likely to sit during off office hours, thus running a higher risk of health problems and mental strain.
On average people spend five hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desks and eight hours sleeping at night, amassing to “too much sitting”, researchers say.
The severity of the problem aggravates when these sitting hours are topped with extra hours lounging in front of the TV or commuting to and from work.
Nowadays, people somehow “just forget to stand up,” study’s lead researcher Dr. Myanna Duncan, from Loughborough University, UK, said.
“People don't need a psychologist to tell them to get up and walk around. But if it helps, I’d tell them to put a post-it note on their computer to remind them. Anyway go and talk to your colleagues face to face, it's a lot more sociable and better for you than emailing them,” she concluded.
The findings of the study were presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Occupational Conference in Chester, England, last week.