Stand up for less sitting

A large proportion of the working population spends many hours every day sitting at a desk. Even if you work in fitness, you might be one of them, and therefore familiar with feelings of stiffness and tension caused by prolonged sitting. But a bit of stiffness isn’t the only thing that sitters need to worry about.

Numerous studies in recent years have cited the risks of lengthy periods of sitting. These include cancer, diabetes, heart disease and even premature death – and these factors are often independent of whether a person engages in regular exercise.

New research, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College in London, has found that directly attempting to decrease sitting time is more effective in addressing the ill effects of prolonged sitting than attempting to offset its effects by increasing levels of physical activity.

The researchers, led by Benjamin Gardner from the department of psychology at King’s College, used existing literature on trials of interventions that sought to reduce sitting time in order to highlight the most effective strategies that had been used to reduce sitting.

The most likely interventions to reduce sitting time included the provision of sit-stand desks at work, encouraging people to monitor and keep a record of their own sitting time, setting individual goals for limiting sitting time, and using prompts and cues to remind people to stop sitting. The study also found that the more favourable and most effective interventions were those that focused on educating people about the health benefits of reducing their sitting time.

Gardner explained that these findings are useful for anyone looking to improve their health by reducing their own sitting time in their daily lives, as many of the most effective interventions can be adopted on an individual level.

Source: Health Psychology Review