Researchers from the Karolinska Institute and the Swedish School of Sport and Health warn that those who sit too much – behind a desk as well as in front of the TV – run serious health risks, even if they take regular exercise.
“Everyone knows about the health benefits of regular exercise,” said leader of the study, Dr Elin Ekblom-Bak. “But what we have not been alerted to before is that long periods sitting down carries an extra risk that cannot be dealt with by taking exercise. There are a growing number of studies that show this.
“One study compared two groups of sedentary office workers, one of whom had regular breaks to move around while the other remained sitting for up to eight hours a day. The group that had the breaks had better blood lipid levels and blood glucose and less obesity.”
The solution, quite simply, is to get up and take a break.
“It is important to have a five minute break from desk work every 45 minutes,” said Ekblom-Bak. “Don’t email colleagues – walk across the office to give them the message. Take a coffee break or put the printer in the next room. I am a desk worker and I try to do it. It is not difficult but sometimes you get lost in your work and you forget about it.”