10 tips to help ward off health risks of sitting

Recent health studies are all agreed that today’s sedentary work and lifestyles carry significant health risks, leading to sickness and absence;  which means employers are well advised to consider how they can create and promote a working environment in order to maintain health in the workplace.

Leading providers of occupational health advice, Medigold Health, have come up with the following list of handy tops to pass on and encourage.


  1. Sit on the edge of your chair

Moving your bottom to the front edge of the chair will help because it:

  • Makes sure that you use the bony part of your bottom. This is what we were designed to sit on – not the fleshy buttocks and thighs.
  • Forces you to use your body’s anatomy properly. It automatically straightens you up and makes your hips work more effectively

Whenever you find yourself slumping at the back of a chair, take a minute’s break and reposition yourself.

  1. Sit spread out

Not the most attractive position, so explain to others around you before adopting this. But, sitting with legs akimbo will help your body to prioritise the neutral spine and stiff trunk needed for good posture.  Alternatively, put your feet together and sit with your knees far apart and legs wide.


  1. Sit on the floor, instead of the sofa

Sitting in chairs places too much weight on our hamstrings.  Better to sit on the floor to ensure your hips and trunk are supporting you and that you are sitting on your pelvis which is designed to withstand the load.

  1. Sit cross-legged

To help maintain a neutral spine.  It’s the closest the body gets to standing, but in a seated position

  1. Think about how you sit in your car

This means altering your seat position regularly.  On long drives, flex your ankles and point your toes as often as possible and squeeze/release your gluteal muscles alternately and together.

The optimal steering position for the stabilisation or the neck and thoracic spine, is to place your hands on the wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock.


  1. Get up from your chair every 20 minutes

At work, make sure you get up at least every 20 minutes and change position as often as possible.  Make each movement break last at least 2 minutes – walk around the office, do some shoulder rolls, chest stretches and other moves, making the movements as varied and extensive as you can in the environment you are in.

  1. Stand up at your desk

Standing is always better than sitting, so try and do this intermittently through the day.

It also explains the increasing popularity of standing desks.  To improvise, try using a box to raise your existing desk to ‘pub bar’ height.


  1. Learn to breathe deeply from your stomach

Not breathing properly has all sorts of repercussions at a cellular level because digestion and metabolism are hampered.  People who sit a lot breathe in a shallow way from their necks so it is worth doing breathing exercises and being conscious of how you breathe.

  1. Stay hydrated

Poor hydration limits mobility so make sure you are drinking enough water.

  1. Develop the habit of moving naturally

The key thing to remember is to move more – in any way.  Classes are good and the best are those that offer complete forms of movement, like pilates, yoga and cross fit.  However, they are not the whole solution.  We all need to walk, stand and move more in general.

Seek advice to improve health in the workplace

Medigold Health has been offering UK business owners and employees occupational health advice for many years, with the result that forward-thinking company directors have seen vast improvements in productivity and in long-term workplace health.

As sickness and absence can be extremely inconvenient and costly for businesses, it is worth investing in programmes that will help to reduce the health risks associated with sitting for long periods of time. If you are looking for occupational health advice, contact Medigold Health today.

Source:  Body& Soul, The Ties, 14 May 2016

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health in the workplace | occupational health advice | sickness and absence