Take care of your back – move more, sit less

Take care of your'e back!

By being more active during the day you can help protect yourself from back problems and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Sitting down all the time, or for long periods of the day, can have a detrimental impact on your posture, which in turn can lead to musculoskeletal problems.

In terms of your general health and wellbeing, even if you take regular exercise, sitting down (or standing still) for hours increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. In a recent review of 47 scientific studies it was found that the more hours people sat, the higher the number of negative health outcomes. Those people who sat down for 7-9 hours per day showed a 90% greater risk of developing diabetes and an 18% higher chance of dying of heart disease or cancer than those who sat less. Fit people who exercised regularly were not immune; risks rose at the same rate for every hour spent seated.

Top tips for moving more

Offset your sitting hours

  • Stand up and move around for a minute or so every 30 minutes if you are desk-bound, or standing still, at work
  • Always move around during a commercial break when you are watching television.
  • Stretch your body whenever you stand up, but avoid bending backwards as it can strain the back. Focus instead on lifting your chest, rolling your shoulders forwards and backwards and trying to stand taller for a few minutes.
  • Gradually cut down your sitting time – both at home and at work. Aim to be in the parked position for no more than five hours in total each day. If it’s longer, have regular active breaks.

Consider active breaks during the working day

  • Take a 10-15 minute brisk walk at lunchtime.
  • Walk more when commuting e.g. park as far away in the car park as you can, or get off the bus a stop early.
  • Use the stairs – all the time.
  • Have walk and talk meetings.
  • Conduct small or informal meetings with everyone standing up
  • Walk to talk to a colleague whenever you can rather than phoning or emailing them.
  • Always try to make or take phone calls standing up
  • Take a 10-15 minute brisk walk at the end of the working day – it will also help you to relax for the evening.

Please take care of your back :)

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