The Dangers of Prolonged Sitting

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By: Marie Donlon

Prolonged sitting, such as the kind done while engaged at the workplace, can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

However, researchers from Leeds Beckett University are concerned that workers are only aware of the minor complications caused by prolonged sitting and not the life threatening ones.

Estimates, according to researchers, have workers spending more than half of their day seated. The participants of the Leeds Beckett survey only listed minor complications such as neck and back pain, dry eyes, weight gain, poor posture and fatigue when asked about the associated symptoms of prolonged sitting.

According to Dr. Stuart Flint at the Carnegie School of Sport, "One of the issues we found whilst carrying out our research is that, in a business-driven workplace, the feasibility of reducing employee sitting time yet maintaining work productivity is a key challenge. Participants reported that light-intensity activities such as walking to meeting rooms, taking standard breaks from sitting, stand-up meetings and walking at lunchtimes were more realistic and preferable than trying to engage in moderate to vigorous activity in the workplace.

"Personal determinants, the workplace environment and organizational culture are key to reducing employees' sitting time. Future workplace interventions should consider the corporate and organizational culture as it is this which impacts greatly on employee's willingness to adopt healthier behaviors at work."

Ultimately, according to Flint and his colleagues, employers need to do more to inform employees about the dangers associated with sitting for too long.