Catalyst produced this excellent video about some of the problems with sitting in society today.
They talk to two researchers in Australia – Professor David Dunstan from the Baker Institute and Professor Emily Banks from the University of Sydney.
Professor Banks talks about a study which followed over 200,000 people in Australia and looked at the deaths that occurred in those people over the following 3 years. One of the things they found was that people who sat for more than 8 hours a day were at a 15% greater risk of early death. Even if people did the recommended daily amount of exercise, it still didn’t cancel out the negative effects of sitting.
Professor Dunstan explains what it is about sitting that is so bad: he says that muscle contractions help the body’s efficiency at clearing the blood sugar and blood fat. He also talks about how elevated glucose levels can lead to inflammation which if repeated over several days or weeks can lead to an increase in risk of heart disease and other diseases such as cancer. As he stands, working at his standing desk, he talks about how we need to start to incorporating more movement into our day.
The programme then visits the Commonwealth Bank in Sydney where they are trialling activity based working. Workers don’t have a specific desk or landline. Their day is spent moving between chair, standing desks and conference tables depending on the task they are doing. They also have big glass stairwells to encourage people to walk between floors.
Interestingly, the work environment was not actually designed for health purposes. It was designed for a better culture for collaboration, so people bump into each other, interact and innovate more. As well as improving the health of their staff they also found they saved a huge amount in energy costs.
This was a hugely helpful video highlighting the health risks of sitting, rethinking work environments of the future and recognising the benefits of having no seat left on the train!