10 Ways to avoid sitting too long at work

When we want to take a rest after working on a stretch, we sit and relax. Sitting for a while helps us to regain our lost energy and get back to our routine work. When we sit, less energy is used than while standing or moving around.

Recent research studies have found that any extended hours of sitting at a work desk or before a screen or behind a wheel can be harmful. A recent study that covered 184,190 participants has found that there would be a 71% increase in mortality rate among people who spend over six hours per day with no or low levels of physical activity.

Prolonged sitting at work has been linked to various health concerns, such as strained nerves, weak muscles, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, dementia, anxiety, depression, and slower brain function.

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Gentle Reminders for Taking a Break

During tight work schedules, we forget to stretch our limbs for a while and get rid of feeling drained. It is important to set reminders or alarms to stand up and walk around to relax. Learn to use pedometers that will beep or vibrate whenever you sit and work on a stretch for more than an hour.

In your email systems, you can set scheduled reminders or alarms that would pop up on your smartphone or computer screen and remind you of taking a break. Get up every 30 to 60 minutes to have a break at least for two minutes. It has proven health benefits and protects you from a sedentary lifestyle.

Go Walking during Break time

According to a recent study, increasing your walking steps assures varied health benefits like reduced blood pressure. Schedule walk breaks into your daily routine so that you can add more steps to your day and meet your day’s health goal faster.

Incorporate a walk during your lunch break. Have your lunch early, and spare at least ten minutes to walk around. Walk around your office building or walk outside, or walk up and down the stairs a few times.

Learn Using Stairs

Using elevators has made people forget to use stairs. Learn to use stairs even if your office has multiple floors. Walking up and down the stairs can give you the much-needed exercise for your limbs and make you strong and healthy.

Next, instead of sending emails to your colleagues who work on the next floor, you can walk to their desks and convey messages in person. You can even conduct meetings or discussions by walking around the lounge or in the garden outdoors. 

Doing Desk Exercises

If you miss your routine exercise time, do some desk exercises that will move your body around and let you burn extra calories for better health. Simple desk exercises help to maintain better posture and maintain your pulse rates.

Choose desk exercises that would suit your workplace environment. While at the work desk, you can do simple push-ups or leg raises or a quick yoga exercise that involves your neck and shoulders.

Working at Sit-stand Desk

With gadgets at home, we are all now used to leading a sedentary life. We can’t avoid prolonged sitting during travel or at work. For preventing life-style related diseases, it is better to change our mode of work. Instead of sitting and working at our desks, we must learn to use a sit-stand desk.

If you don’t have the height adjustable sit-stand desk in your office, you can still follow some routine to break the monotony of sitting and working for prolonged hours.

Instead of sitting and attending a phone call, stand up and talk. When a colleague comes to your desk to talk, stand up and continue your conversation.

Keep Fidgeting Around

Fidgeting or making small movements with your hands and feet while sitting at your work desk supports good health. Foot shaking or finger tapping should not be looked at as annoying behaviours, for it helps you to be healthier. 

A recent study has found that fidgeting a leg every few minutes improves blood flow in one leg more than the other. Gently peddling an under-desk wheel burned twenty percent calories.

Do Active Commuting

At present, travelling to work takes much time, and we are forced to sit for thirty to forty minutes. Ensure to walk at least for five minutes before or after commuting to work or home.

If you travel by bus to work, get down early and walk a little longer to reach your workplace.

If you travel on your vehicle, park them away from the workplace and take time to walk down the distance. Walking home from the bus stop or station will clear your mind from stress at work and breathe in fresh air for a pleasant evening.

What is Active Sitting

Active sitting refers to actively engaging our abdominal, back, or leg muscles while sitting in a chair. It also helps regular muscle contraction and flow of oxygenated blood cells to energise the mind and the body.

Active sitting allows office employees to change their sitting patterns and keep their muscles active.

Saddle or wobble stools support active sitting that strengthens the shoulder muscles, the lower and upper abdominal muscles, and the muscles down towards our hips. Active sitting improves posture, and so users are less prone to back pain because of prolonged sitting.

Visiting your Colleagues

Never hesitate to walk the distance to meet your colleagues or friends in person to discuss important things at work.

Instead of calling and discussing with your team members over the phone, you can schedule meetings on the next floor or in the lounge; so that you and your team members walk down some distance to avoid prolonged sitting.

Attending Standing Meetings

Organise standing meetings to save time and make them short and sweet. Standing meetings give a break from prolonged sitting and meet team members informally.

Standing meetings help to share an update of day-to-day work at the office and get back to routine work within a short time.


We all know prolonged sitting can be harmful to our health. Yet, most of our time is spent on sitting and working for prolonged hours.

To encourage sitting less time and moving around to maintain overall better health, organisations must implement standing rules to follow. That will help employees to maintain overall good health and meet production targets with success.


Thiru Kumaran is a marketing and communications specialist who has worked across B2B and B2C markets, driving success from concept to sales through integrated campaigns.

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