Get out of your chair!

6 March 2013

The start of Semester One is a perfect time to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine, helping you to feel better during the day and, potentially, improving your long-term health.

Here are some tips to moving more and sitting less at work.

  • Walk to a colleague's desk to talk to them instead of emailing or phoning them.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift.
  • Stand up when talking on the phone.
  • Stand up or walk when meeting with colleagues.
  • Stand at the back of the room during presentations and seminars.
  • Take a short 'standing break' and stretch your back and neck at least every two hours.

These tips can help with posture, improve your focus and make you feel fresher. As Professor Adrian Bauman explains, sitting for prolonged periods of time can have a major impact on your health, even if you exercise regularly outside the office.

"We've known for a long time that not smoking, a healthy diet, drinking alcohol in moderation and regular moderate physical activity is good for us," says Professor Adrian Bauman, one of the directors of the Prevention Research Collaboration in the University's School of Public Health.

"However evidence increasingly suggests that even if you walk to work, or swim during your lunchbreak, sitting at your desk all day without getting up can still be hazardous to your health."

In recent years Professor Bauman has been collaborating with colleagues to investigate how increasing physical activity through reducing sitting could help prevent the development of chronic disease. Watch a presentation by Adrian at the 2012 '21st-Century Medicine' lecture series.

Professor Bauman is also one of more than 80 staff from across the University who have formed the 'Healthy University' initiative, which aims to ensure University students and staff have the knowledge, skills and infrastructure to lead healthier lives.

"You can engage in organised sport, or you can just move more in everyday life, for example by changing how you travel, to make a real difference to your health."

You should also try to cut down on prolonged periods of sitting or, if you do have to sit for a long period of time, to make sure you stand up for a few minutes every so often.

The Heart Foundation has produced information sheets to help you sit less and move more.