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Move more, sit less

01 February 2018

How long have you been sitting today? Maybe you sit to eat breakfast, at your work desk, in the classroom, in the car, on the train, and in front of the TV in the evenings - it all adds up.

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No matter how active you are, it is important that you sit less. Even if you are getting enough exercise in your day, you still might be sitting too much.

Prolonged periods sitting in front of the TV on the sofa, in the car and behind a desk have created an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Studies show that reduced activity and extended sitting times can cause obesity and increase the risk of chronic health problems including diabetes, cancer and heart disease (NHS choices). It is also thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.

According to the Start Active, Stay Active report from the Department of Health, ‘shorter bouts of activity such as just one to two minutes will break up sedentary time and should be encouraged’. These shorter bouts of activity can be achieved in both work and day to day life, through some simple changes:


At work

  • Rather than emailing a colleague, walk to their desk to speak to them – it’s more active and social
  • Rotate standing tasks and sitting tasks across your working day
  • Avoid the lift and always use the stairs
  • Make your work space more active – lots of little adjustments such as moving your phone further away, so you have to stand to answer it, can help to keep you moving
  • Take a walk on your lunch or during your coffee break
  • Have standing meetings or walk around while you are on your mobile

Whilst travelling

  • Offer up your seat on the bus or train, especially on shorter journeys
  • Leave your car at home. Walk or cycle at least part of the way to where you’re going. Take public transport and walk to and from the stops/stations. Or park your car further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way
  • Get up and move around on train journeys or flights
  • Plan regular breaks on long car trips

At home

  • Don’t want to miss your favourite TV program? Stand up to watch it and do the ironing or wash the dishes at the same time
  • Stand to read the paper
  • Wash your car by hand instead of using the drive-through car wash
  • Move around the house while you check your text messages and emails on your mobile phone
  • Take up a hobby that ‘makes you move’ i.e. swimming, walking gardening, yoga, dancing etc.
  • Consider buying an activity tracker and have competitions with your friends on who can achieve the most steps. Some activity trackers will also remind you to keep moving when you have had a long period of inactivity.

If you would like to know more about how you can improve health and wellbeing of your colleagues, visit the occupational health section of our website or email

Please note: Contents of this article are for general information purposes and is not meant to replace physiotherapy or medical consultation.

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