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Are office workers more sedentary than pensioners?

A recent national health survey produced some rather scary results – the average time that 45 to 54-year-old males are seated during a week day is seven hours and forty eight minutes, and seven hours and eighteen minutes for females.

The survey also compared the sitting habits of the over 75, and although these were still high, they were practically equal to office workers some 30 years younger.

With so many of us now in desk jobs, it raises the question, how is the computer age affecting our long term health?

Computers first became a real part of offices in the 90s but even then, they were shared, so office workers weren’t necessarily desk-bound. Move into the noughties and almost every office worker had their own PC, and as technology advanced other office equipment quickly became computerised and thus further removed the need for office workers to move away from their desks.

With all these stats and health guidelines being introduced, you can’t help but worry about the long term health of those who have been sitting in a desk job in front of a computer since leaving school, how will they fair when they get to their mid-forties or even late seventies?   

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'It is surprising that we are spending up to eight hours a day sedentary, half of which is a result of being sat down at work. This is putting people at risk of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, the cause of more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. While we should all make a concerted effort to be more physically active, at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, we should also reduce our sedentary time, and leave the desk and computer and get on our feet more.'

One thing is certain, our office habits need to change. Ergonomics, and health at work need to be taken seriously, failing to understand and rectify the way in which we work can as previously mentioned lead to some very serious health problems.

Getting behind new initiatives, such as sit stand desks, meetings over ping pong tables and of course, treadmill desks isn’t something that should be regarded as a novelty, but as a necessity, a necessary part of keeping a happy, healthy and above all an active workforce!

Some of the UK’s biggest brands have adopted a workplace well-being initiative and have included our treadmill desks as a great way for their employees to keep active at work, without the need to move away from their desk. Many, such as Richard Branson view creating an active office as a great way to keep staff productive, attract new employees and states that active teams are happier, healthier and more engaged. So, if it worked for Virgin... couldn't it work for you?

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