According to the first ever UK guidance designed to curb the health risk of too much cumulative sitting time, the office workers should be on their feet for a minimum of 2 hours daily during their working hours.
The study done by a panel of international experts, at the behest of Public Health England and a UK community interest company suggests that the daily quota should eventually be bumped up to four hours a day, breaking up prolonged periods of sitting with the use of sit-stand desks, standing based work and regular walk-abouts.
The authors said that for those working in offices 65-75 per cent of their working hours are spent sitting, of which more than 50 per cent of this is accumulated in prolonged periods of sustained sitting.
They added that the evidence is clearly emerging that a first behavioural step could be simply to get people standing and moving more frequently as part of their working day.
Based on the study researchers recommend:
2 hours daily of standing and light activity (light walking) during working hours, eventually progressing to a total of 4 hours for all office workers whose jobs are predominantly desk based
Regularly breaking up seated based work with standing based work, with the use of adjustable sit-stand desks/work stations
Avoidance of prolonged static standing, which may be as harmful as prolonged sitting
Altering posture/light walking to alleviate possible musculoskeletal pain and fatigue as part of the adaptive process
Encouraging staff to embrace other healthy behaviours, such as cutting down on drinking and smoking, eating a nutritious diet and alleviating stress.
Researchers claim that some companies have already invested time and money creating a more active working environment for their staff.
The research is published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.