There needs to be more education in the workplace on the damaging effects of prolonged sitting. Companies can spend a lot of money and effort to build gyms and hold fitness classes, but that doesn’t mean everyone will use them. And even if employees do work out regularly, there are a number of recent studies that have shown that prolonged sitting has been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and premature death, despite regular exercise!
This is a huge problem that we need to tackle that affects both the employers and employees. We need to start by emphasizing the small and easy changes, which will go a long way and have greater compliance. Things like standing for a moment after sending an email, pacing while taking phone calls, setting a timer for bathroom breaks, having walking or standing meetings, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car farther so you have to walk more, are just a few examples of things that can be implemented.
Also, every little movement counts and contributes towards burning calories even when you are not exercising! This is in accordance with Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), proposed by Dr. James Levine. By following the principles of NEAT, you can experience major benefits from accumulation of minor movements throughout the day. You might have to set up reminders for yourself initially until it becomes a habit. But the good news is that it doesn’t really take much time away from work!
The bottom line: Prolonged sitting is not good for you. Start working on this by making small, but sustainable, changes.