Sitting Series – Part 2: How to sit less and feel better at work

According to a recent study, adults in Western countries spend on average between 55 and 70 percent of their day sedentary.* For the average person who spends about 16 hours a day awake, that equals out to be about 9 to 11 hours of sitting each day!


Our tips cover how to sit less and incorporate stretches and movement into your day – so you don’t feel self-conscious about it, but do feel refreshed. It’s a good idea to get into these habits so the cumulative effects of sitting don’t eventually creep up on you.

REduce Pain, improve your mood

A study done in 2012 analyzed the effects of workers when their desks were switched to standing desks for a small portion of the day. Throughout the study, they found that a standing desk reduced time spent sitting by 224 percent (66 minutes per day), reduced upper back and neck pain by 54 percent, and improved mood states.**

Interestingly enough, when the office removed the standing desks all of the benefits that they saw were gone in about two weeks. This means that all we need to do is remove about 66 minutes of sitting time to benefit. This might sound like a lot, but when you break it into smaller segments, it’s not so bad.

up and on the move

Try this:

  • When possible, get up and speak to someone in person instead of email/phone.
  • Go the long way to the bathroom/water fountain.
  • Take 5 minutes every hour to stand and stretch.
  • Go for a 30 minute walk during your lunch break.

With just these four items, you could potentially decrease your sitting time by almost 90 minutes! Time really does add up!

Need some great stretches that you can do secretively at your desk? Try these:

  • Neck circles – circle your neck slowly 5 times in each direction.
  • Chest stretch – interlock your fingers behind your back and pull to stretch out your chest.
  • Upper back stretch – interlock your fingers in front of you and pull forward, separating your shoulder blades.
  • Hamstring stretch – stand up and try to touch your toes while keeping your legs straight.
  • Wrist circles – circle your wrists slowly 5 times in each direction.
  • Calf raises – stand up and do 10 calf raises (raising up onto your toes) to get the blood flowing in your legs.

If you don’t think you have time to get up and move around at work, think about what you’re doing to your health. Sure you might feel fine now, but what about 10 years from now when the sitting really starts to add up? Start now and sit less, to get ahead of the game and prevent future problems!

For exercise options after work, contact a Cornerstone Membership Advisor to see what group exercise options and classes might be right for you. Keep an eye out for part 3 of The Sitting Series – coming soon!

*Study: Chau, 2013
**Study: Pronk, 2012

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