Spend too many hours sitting at work? You may be at risk of frailty

Is your job ruining your health?

Every fitness tracker comes with an inbuilt feature to get people to move every hour. The reason is that most of us are stuck in our sedentary lifestyles and don’t walk, stand much through the day. Even for someone with a somewhat active lifestyle, ‘movement breaks’ are necessary. But if you are a woman, and spend too much time sitting behind a desk, this becomes mandatory. According to a study, women who spend more time sitting down are at higher risk of becoming frail as they age.

Researchers from University of Queensland in Australia looked into the sitting patterns of almost 5,500 middle-aged women over a 12 year period. “Women who had high levels of sitting – about ten hours a day – were more at risk of becoming frail,” said Paul Gardiner, from University of Queensland.

Effects of sitting for too long

Those with consistently less sitting time had a lower risk of developing problems, according to the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. “We classed 5.5 hours sitting per day as a medium level of sitting, while 3.5 hours per day represented a low level. Frailty means that you have fewer reserves to recover from illness or injury,” he added.

“It’s also linked to increased risk of hospitalisation, falls, moving into residential care facilities, and premature mortality,” he said. Gardiner said fortunately the effects of sitting too long could be reversed. “Participants who decreased their sitting time by approximately two hours per day reduced their risk of vulnerability,” he said. “In order to remove the increased risk altogether, women should try and limit their sitting time to low or medium levels, as well as being physically active,” Gardiner said.

Here’s what you can do about it

1) Move every hour: Take at least 250 steps every hour. This way you’ll ensure that you are moving more than you’re sitting.

2) Take breaks: Keep a small water bottle, so that you’ll walk more number of times to get it filled. Take lunch break, tea break and include a bit of walking in it.

3) Tag a co-worker: You can ask your co-worker to have a walking meeting or a chat with you.

4) Walk and talk: If you’re on a phone call for a long time, get moving. Walk as you talk, this way you can get in some more exercise into your work routine.