Bad news office workers: scientists say ‘sitting is as bad as smoking’

We all know that people who spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk are likely to face some interesting health issues as result.

Sore necks, backs and poor posture in general are often associated with those who are desk-bound.

Now it has been found that prolonged sitting can be just as bad for your health as smoking. According to researchers at Queens University Belfast, sitting for long periods of time has is linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even early death.

Dr. Mark Tully from the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health at the university said that people can spend up to 80 per cent of their waking hours sitting down.

“Public health scientists have recognised the need to develop effective interventions to address the high levels of inactivity across ages, with sitting regarded as the new smoking,” he said.

Dr Tully is a regular user of a treadmill desk and said his office also has standing desks in place.

“Those of us who stand while we work are more creative and productive in our working lives too. So it may well be that sitting is reducing productivity in our workplaces,” he said.

He also said in a previous study people who spent most of their time sitting were 50 per cent more likely to die than the people who spent the least amount of time sitting.

So what can we do to help break the unhealthy cycle?

“Break up your sitting with a little bit of standing. What my colleagues do is drink lots of water because that encourages breaks to go and relieve yourself,” he said.

We will more than willing to deal with a queue for the bathroom at the office if it means we can live longer and healthier lives.