It has been scientifically proven that that sitting down for long periods of time, even for those who regularly exercise, can lead to poor health. Evidence shows that people who sit a lot, in comparison to those who do not, are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, depression, musculoskeletal issues and cardiovascular disease. However, intermittent standing throughout the working day can promote more movement and limits sedentary behaviour.
Desk-based employees typically spend six hours sitting down at work, with nearly half of this in prolonged, unbroken bouts. Across the whole day they accumulate between nine to 10 hours of sitting. The Stand More AT Work (SMArT Work) research study was designed to help sedentary office-workers to sit less and stand more during their working day.
The Stand More AT Work (SMArT Work) study involved 146 office workers from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust who were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One set of people received the SMArT Work programme and the other group was asked to continue as normal. The programme consisted of providing the intervention group with height-adjustable workstations, a self-monitoring and prompt device, a brief education seminar, posters and providing feedback on their sitting behaviour.
After 12 months, participants in the intervention group spent 83 minutes less per day sitting down at work than the control group. Participants also self-reported improvements in their job performance, work engagement, occupational fatigue, sickness presenteeism, daily anxiety and quality of life.
Now, following research conducted at the University of Leicester and Loughborough University including researchers from NIHR Leicester BRC, online toolkits containing a wealth of free resources have been developed for staff and employers to encourage desk-bound colleagues to move more. To check out the free toolkits, visit: www.smartworkandlife.co.uk.
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