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You should stand in meetings – don’t worry about what others might think

The following article, written by Benjamin Gardner, Lee Smith, and Louise Mansfield, was originally published in The Conversation on July 2, 2018. Standing in meetings may be good for our health, but it can also make those that are standing feel self-conscious, anxious about how others perceive them, and disengaged from the meeting. These findings, taken from our recent study, suggest that efforts to encourage office workers to sit less and move more must acknowledge the realities of the workplace that conspire to keep people chained to their seats. Sitting has been linked to adverse health outcomes, including increased risk of obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and poorer mental health. While some evidence suggests that the harms of sitting can be offset by at least one daily hour of moderate physical activity, this seems an unrealistic target. Most of the UK population fails to meet physical activity recommendations and spends prolonged periods sitting. Office workers, who make up half of the UK workforce, are particularly inactive. Our 2015 study of 164 London workers found that, on workdays, they sat for 10.5 hours of the 16 hours they spent awake. Breaking up sitting frequently with periods of standing and associated light activity can have important health…

Is sitting bad for us? There’s good and bad news

The following article, written by Professor David Dunstan – one of our BeUpstanding Academic team members – was originally published in The New Daily on June 25, 2018. As you read this, what are you doing right now? If you’re sitting down, scientists have some good and bad news. First, the bad news. The way most adults work has steadily changed over recent decades. While in many ways our workplaces are ‘safer’ from an occupational hazards perspective, it is now encouraged or even demanded that we spend large portions of our day sedentary (seated) – usually with our eyes glued to some type of screen. While this is now the new norm, we simply weren’t built for such a stationary existence and, unsurprisingly, accumulating scientific evidence demonstrates that exposure to high amounts of sitting significantly increases the risk of premature death, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Yes, you can help to reduce the risks associated with too much sitting if you undertake daily exercise, but unfortunately science tells us the best estimate of the amount of exercise required is equal to about 80 to 90 minutes per day of moderate-intensity activities (such as brisk walking) or 40 to 45…

Policies relating to occupational sedentary behaviour?

Your workplace is likely to have policies regarding leave, fire safety, employment conditions, etc. etc. but what about sedentary work? Dr Pieter Coenen led a qualitative review of existing national and international occupational safety and health policies relating to occupational sedentary behaviour. He concluded that although there were no occupational authority policies that focused specifically on sedentary behaviour, there were a relevant aspects of existing policies that could be modified to address occupational sedentary behaviour. Do you have a policy addressing occupational sitting in your workplace? Please share your story with us.

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