Chained to your desk? You could be risking your long-term health

March 27th 2015 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Chained to your desk? You could be risking your long-term health


New figures show that two fifths of office workers walk for less than 30 minutes a day at work. A new campaign aims to get Britain on its feet...

With deadlines, assignments and our ever-growing inboxes making it near enough impossible to leave our desks, a working life spent staring at our screens seems an inevitability for most of us in order to win the battle against our to-do lists.

However, according to new statistics, the extent of our sedentary lifestyles is more shocking than previously thought. A poll of 2,000 UK office workers conducted by the British Heart Foundation and Get Britain Standing found that almost two fifths are so tied to their desks that they’ve confessed to emailing someone right next to them, over half regularly eat lunch at their desk and almost a third sit for so long that they even put off going to the toilet. The figures also revealed that almost half of women (45%) and almost two fifths of men (37%) working in UK offices spend less than 30 minutes a day walking around at work too.

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62% commented that they feared that this could have a negative impact on their health and unfortunately, they are correct to be worried. Research suggests that sedentary behaviour can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease.* It has also been associated with obesity and weight gain, a key risk for coronary heart disease.**

These findings are particularly concerning considering stats also show that the average person sits for almost nine hours a day and almost 70% of an office worker’s average sitting time is at work.***

To help get the UK’s workforce adopting a more active lifestyle, the British Heart Foundation has teamed up with Get Britain Standing to launch the country’s first On Your Feet Britain campaign on the 24th of April, encouraging workers to ditch their office chairs and raise vital funds for cardiovascular disease.

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Offices are being challenged to find inventive ways of getting employees on their feet, by holding walking meetings, getting outside at lunchtime, simply taking five minutes to stand up and stretch or set up a team challenge.

Companies can sign up online and hold a range of fun activities to get their workers moving more.

For more information and to sign up to On Your Feet Britain visit

* Wilmot EG, Edwardson CL, Achana FA et al (2012) Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia 55: 2895-2905

** Bauman AE, Chau JY, Ding D & Bennie J (2013) Too much sitting and cardio-metabolic risk: an update of epidemiological evidence. Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports. Online publication.

***S.A Clemes et al, ‘Sitting time and step counts in office workers’ 2014, Occupational Medicine. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqt164

Follow us @getthegloss and Ayesha @ayesha_muttu.


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