Health Insurer, Axa PPP, has highlighted the merits to health of breaking the sedentary cycle at work to feel more energised and productive.
Axa has commented on a poll of 2000 workers found that, while nearly half (46%) sit at work for 4 to 6 hours per day, 1 in 4 (25%) notch up 7 to 8 hours daily. Sitting eats into people’s travel time too, with 29% seat-bound for up to half an hour as a part of their daily commute to and from work and 27% occupying a travel-time seat for 30 to 60 minutes. Seventeen per cent say their seated commuting time takes 1 to 2 hours.
But it doesn’t don’t stop there – in addition to their work and commuting, half (50%) are seated 2 to 3 hours per day during their leisure and home time. For almost a third (31%), the figure is 4 to 6 hours.
A worrying finding outlined in the survey is workers’ seeming satisfaction with their sedentary situation at work, with half (51%) saying they’re ‘okay’ with the amount of time they spend sitting and a third (33 per cent) being ‘happy’ with it. This is despite nearly three quarters (73%) of respondents having experienced musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck and shoulder pain. It’s therefore hardly surprising that inertia prevails when it comes to countering health risks associated with prolonged sitting (they include heart disease and type 2 diabetes as well as musculoskeletal problems**). Indeed, only a little more than a third of employees (36 per cent) say they try to do something about it by getting out of their work seats to frequently move around.
Jan Vickery, Head of Musculoskeletal Services for AXA PPP healthcare, comments: “We cannot escape from the fact that many of us do much of our day-to-day business on our bottoms. To help bring this home, this nine-hour sit-time is tantamount to a UK flight to the Caribbean and, while it’s encouraging that some people are taking steps to lower the risks associated with prolonged sitting, it’s a concern that, for others, this seems to be a low priority. To make matters worse, sedentary home and leisure patterns may further increase our susceptibility to chronic health problems.
“For the sake of our health we need to break the sedentary cycle. Employees – and their employers – should be aware that adopting and developing better habits can make a big difference. Making a point of getting up and about every half hour – whether to speak with a colleague or just to stretch your legs – should help you to feel more energised and productive. Perhaps it’s time to give that old exhortation ‘Bottoms up’ a new lease of life to remind ourselves to get up and off our chairs more often.”
Axa PPP Healthcare has an online ‘Muscles, bones and joints centre’ that gives helpful advice and tips on keeping muscles, bones and joints healthy.
*Research of 2,007 UK adults carried undertaken in October 2016 by market research agency Atomik.
**Lee IM, Shiroma EJ, Lobelo F, Puska P, Blair SN, Katzmarzyk PT, Lancet Physical Activity Series Working Group, Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy, Lancet 2012; 380: 219–29: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61031-9/fulltext
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About AXA PPP healthcare
AXA PPP healthcare – one of the largest and most experienced private medical insurance providers in the UK – has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its specialist Health Services division.
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