Office worker? Stand up and walk!

Office workers tend to sit. A lot.

Spending too much time sitting can be detrimental to our health. There is “significant evidence on the adverse cardio-metabolic health consequences of sitting” [1]. Additionally, “high levels of TV time were significantly associated with increased all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality” [1].

Interestingly, daily exercise alone does not seem to offset the adverse effects of prolonged sitting. “Even if daily exercise recommendations are met, metabolic health might be compromised if sitting occurs without regular breaks”. [2].

The one most important thing you can do, is to take breaks from sedentary time. According to [2], “breaks in sedentary time (as distinct from the overall volume of time spent being sedentary) were shown to have beneficial associations with metabolic biomarkers”.

During your work day, you should get up and move briefly regularly. Having a higher number of breaks in sedentary time was “beneficially associated with waist circumference, body mass index, triglycerides, and 2-h plasma glucose” [1].

So what is a good sitting/standing ratio? “Wellness perception varies across sit:stand ratios, typically greatest near 24:6.” [3]. This ratio ties up nicely with the Pomodoro technique [3]:

  • Set a timer for 25 minutes. Start working.
  • Then, take a 5 minute break. Get up and move away from you desk. Try being lightly/moderately active. Walk around, stretch, maybe do a bit of light strength training.
  • Repeat.


  1. Too Much Sitting: The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior (link)
  2. Different sit:stand time ratios within a 30-minute cycle change perceptions related to musculoskeletal disorders (link)
  3. Wikipedia page on Pomodoro Technique

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