Until now, although it’s clear that sedentary behavior contributes to poor health, researchers have been struggling to identify just how much sitting is too much sitting.
And not only has this been a pressing question for those studying the subject, but also for many office workers wondering whether or not they really need to get up and move around that much more during their workday.
Now, according to expert statements published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it’s recommended that office workers—particularly those who hunker down behind a desk for a majority of the day—spend at least two hours a day standing up. Ideally, the statement notes, standing time should eventually be increased to four hours per day.
Yes, assuming you have a typical eight-hour workday, you should preferably spend only about half of your day in a chair.
The report notes that more in-depth research is required to solidify these figures, as well as to determine the long-term health outcomes of “standing and light activity interventions” in real office environments.
The preliminary recommendations, though, come from two key sets of studies: a retrospective, long-term national health and fitness survey that associated standing for four hours each day with the greatest risk reduction; and a collection of observational and acute interventional studies that demonstrated significant improvement in metabolic functions and ergonomic risk factors (like energy expenditure, muscle and joint functions, and insulin levels) when subjects spent more than two hours standing each day.
The paper’s authors explained that these new guidelines are a starting point. They're meant to serve as a researched-based target that office workers can use to strategically implement more activity into the average eight-hour workday.
“This guidance, thus, represents a summary and extrapolation of the evidence to date,” the authors wrote. “Future refinements will be required as more evidence is published.”
For now, the main message is clear: stand up and move around as much as possible, and especially while you're at work.
Check out the resources below to learn some creative ways you can move more at work.
10 Ways to Move More At Work
11 Ways You Can Burn More Calories During the Work Day
12 Exercises You Can Do While Sitting Down
3 Easy Ways to Fight the Negative Effects of Too Much Sitting
Easy Ways to Work Out at Work without Getting Sweaty
Tips for a Healthier, Happier Workday