How to offset the dangers of sedentary work
by Max Cohrssen
by Max Cohrssen
Due to the static nature of office-based work, general neck and shoulder tightness, with reduced mobility of the spinal joints, is commonplace. Administrative and office workers are at increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries associated with prolonged sitting. Sedentary work also affects non-office blue-collar workers across many occupations such as truck drivers, delivery drivers and machine operators (Safe Work Australia).
What can be done about prolonged sitting at work? At Work Healthy Australia, we approach our rehabilitation exercise advice in the mind of “offsetting” this reduction in overall movement. Besides taking regular breaks from sitting, our onsite health providers encourage sedentary workers to improve their flexibility, mobility and overall strength with activity. Some simple low impact ways to balance this out can include stretching, walking, and creating a rhythm of regular short breaks from the computer desk.
The benefits of improving our overall physical capability will result in reduced injury rate, headaches, neck/shoulder tension, absenteeism and improved mental wellbeing.
In practical application to a workplace, if an active culture is established (for example a group of co-workers training at a gym) this will likely have an overall positive effect on physical performance. The introduction of a new employee to a culture of good health and camaraderie in exercise may trigger new productive behaviours that may not have happened otherwise, and demonstrate a positive association with physical activity.
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