Is sitting the new smoking?

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Is sitting the new smoking?


Is your chair killing you?

31 March 2014

Research may give Australians a new stance on sitting!

Obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic, Dr James Levin, has publicised that similar to tobacco, excessive sitting is a negative behaviour that can lead to hazardous health risks. The Cancer Council Australia has also associated prolonged sitting with diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cancer that could send any average office worker to an early grave.

Could your habits at the workplace be increasing risk of the ‘Chair Disease?’ Dr James Levin said that even exercising after sitting for an excessive period of time will not reverse the negative impacts on the body.

So if hitting the gym after a long day of being glued to your chair isn’t the answer, then what is?

The University of the Sunshine Coast Health, Safety and Wellbeing team have a few helpful tips to get you moving in the right direction:

Make your workstation suit your needs

Reference USC’s Ergonomic Self-Assessment Guide (PDF 464KB) to create a workstation that is tailored to your needs.

Incorporate fitness into your travel

Try walking or biking to work, even taking the stairs when possible.

Be social

Involve yourself in USC’s Physical Health Programs:

  • USC Walkers: Walking group that participates in lunchtime walks on Monday to Thursday 12noon.
  • Feel Good Friday Stretch and Move Session: A group session of stretches and gentle movements to refresh your body before the weekend.
  • USC Sport provides first-class facilities, programs and services for University students, staff, graduates and sporting groups in the Sunshine Coast community.

Keep moving

Anita Hamilton, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at the University of the Sunshine Coast, suggests putting a timer on your computer or smart phone to remind you to get up from your desk at least once an hour.

This can be achieved through:

  • turning a sitting situation into a moving situation
  • having meetings on the go
  • walking to a colleague’s workstation rather than making a phone call or email
  • incorporating stretching into your daily office routine

The Computer and desk stretches information sheet (PDF 351KB) provides a few simple stretches you can do during a short break.

What is YOUR stance on sitting?

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