Lifestyle | Are you sitting too much at work?

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An office-based job often means endless hours sitting at your desk with limited breaks. This practice is more harmful than smoking, according to health experts.

It has been programmed into us that those people who constantly move away from their desks throughout the day are either lazy or bored. Yes, we do excuse the toilet breaks or need for water. But there is no need to move away several times a day.

This theory has been blown out of the water in recent years with experts outlining the need for regular breaks to increase focus and productivity. More recent research, however, points to more serious negative impacts to sitting for long periods of time.

Studies have shown that prolonged periods of sitting puts an individual at an increased risk for developing serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.

According to the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF), four in 10 workers in Ireland say they are totally or extremely inactive during the day. The science is quite simple; As soon as we sit down at work, we are decreasing activity in our legs and ability to burn fat.

Thankfully, more employers are seeing the value in its employees moving around. Many have introduced standing desks and standing meetings.

There are many things that you can do to encourage movement in the office, and on your commute. If you travel to work on public transport, get off a stop earlier so you can walk longer. Stand instead of sitting, if possible. If you drive, take the time to breathe and relax – this is imperative for your overall health and well being.

Try not to eat lunch at your desk. Instead, eat at a table and pencil in some time to go for a quick 15 minute walk.

Take the stairs instead of using the lift. It is important to move around every 20 minutes. If you are under pressure at work, use this time to do a task related to your work. For example, walk to the printer or take a call while walking.

Instead of emailing a work colleague, walk to their desks and discuss the matter. Do anything that will keep you moving and productive at work.