Prolonged sitting during our work day is literally killing us. According to recent research, individuals who sit for more than 11 hours each day are 40% more likely to die within the next three years than those who sit for less than 4 hours a day. Additionally, it has been noted that 90% of most adults’ leisure time outside of work is spent sitting as well. These facts seem to target most 9 to 5 office workers as they rely on a computer to do their work, leaving them sitting or inactive most of the work day. But what we must realize is that sitting for long periods of time disrupts our metabolic functions, and a decreased metabolism over time will lead to serious health concerns.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to leading a sedentary lifestyle at work, and it all centers around re-booting your metabolism. One way to do this is by simply standing instead of sitting. Implement standing meetings, or set up a standing desk station. Try getting up out of your seat for at least 3 minutes every hour by walking to the water fountain, the bathroom, or doing a quick loop around the office. Many workers have even invested in a treadmill desk that allows them to walk while working on their computer. Some organizations have also begun to implement “recess” at work that consists of short 15 minute activities such as basketball or Ping-Pong to get employees active and refreshed in the afternoon hours.
It is very important for organizations to attempt to create a culture of wellness in the workplace. Through the help of your wellness committee, implement a fitness challenge or a walking group for employees to get them comfortable with exercising and more involved in their health. Additionally, be sure that your wellness program is integrated with your other benefits and includes health risk assessments, wellness coaching, online resources, on-site health screenings and reporting, and promotional or educational resources. You will see the financial returns of investing in such programs so there’s no better time to start than right now!