The News on Sitting Down; You May Want to Stand Up

An hour at the gym after a day spent at the office may no longer be the solution to achieving a healthy working lifestyle. Those hours spent sitting at work or on the computer are being reexamined in light of information revealing that workers need to get up and get active regularly throughout the day or face potentially serious health consequences.

Mechanization and automation have affected virtually every sector of the economy. New technologies have changed the way people work in industry and in offices. As machines replace work previously done manually, more people are working in a sitting position to operate these machines. With computers and telecommunications tools on every desk, office workers often sit uninterrupted for much of their day with little reason to get up.

But humans weren't designed to sit all day. As such, sitting for long periods is a serious occupational health and safety problem. When your daily routine includes sitting for extended periods, the muscles in your legs that normally help pump blood aren't used much and as a result, blood can flow backwards in leg veins and pool, causing varicose veins and blood clots. Prolonged sitting also requires your muscles to hold your trunk, neck and shoulders in a fixed position. Due to the lack of movement while sitting, there is less demand on
the circulatory system and blood flow slows down. Blood vessels in your muscles are squeezed, reducing the blood supply, which leads to fatigue and makes muscles prone to injury. This fatigue is why sitting all day long doing little physical work can leave you feeling tired at the end of the day.

The key to reducing the health risks associated with prolonged sitting on the job is to change the way you work. Try to introduce regular physical activity throughout the day and making it part of your daily working routine.

The main objective of a job design for a seated employee is to reduce the amount of time the person spends "just" sitting.

More information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety