The Problem of Sedentary Behaviour in the Office Workspace: A Structured Exercise Program for Primary Prevention
Skyler Mann R.Kin, MPK(1), Abdul-Hamid Hamad MD(2), and Dinesh Kumbhare MD, PhD(2)
1) Department of Exercise Science, University of Toronto, Canada
2) Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada
Occupations that require employees to remain seated for extended periods of time are continually becoming more pervasive in today’s workforce. Those who perform office/desk work are sitting on average 8-12 hours/day during work days, and 7-9.5 hours/day on days off. These trends are particularly worrisome considering higher prevalence for conditions such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, obesity, deep vein thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease being linked with habitual sedentary behaviour.
Workplace physical activity programs offer an excellent opportunity for individuals working in traditionally sedentary occupations to engage in a more active lifestyle.
These programs should aim to increase mobility and reduce the risks associated with prolonged sitting by incorporating full body stretches and exercises that work on improving joint stability, reinforcing proper sitting posture mechanics, and strengthening weak muscles. These exercise programs should be capable of smoothly integrating into daily routine and be supported by current research literature. A few excellent exercises designed to help break up sedentary time and combat the physical demands of office work are:
- Modified Wall Push-ups
- Bilateral Isometric Knee Extension
- Wall Squats
- Isometric Shoulder Exercises
- Isometric Neck Exercises
- Calf Raises
- Bilateral Leg Lifts
The benefits for implementing movement and physical activity into daily life are well backed by research literature. Breaking up extended bouts of sitting with exercise can help mitigate the negative health risks associated with daily prolonged immobilization. In addition to reducing these health risks individuals can also experience increased mobility and muscular strength. Incorporating these exercises is an introduction and stepping stone towards a more physically active lifestyle. It is important to keep in mind these exercises should to be implemented as a means of breaking up extended periods of sitting and not as a replacement or substitution for current aerobic or resistance-based exercise programs.
Mann S, Hamad AH, Kumbhare D (2018) The Problem of Sedentary Behaviour in the Office Workspace: A Structured Exercise Program for Primary Prevention. J Nov Physiother 8: 392. doi:10.4172/2165-7025.1000392