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Sitting@work - workplace interventions to improve health

Most of the working population spends around 40 hours a week, if not more, sitting in front of a computer screen. And we continue to sit after work: in the car, on the train or on the sofa. Many people neglect the fact that our bodies are not built for this and need regular exercise. Walking and running were the main activities of our ancestors - our bodies have not been able to adapt to our modern and sedentary lifestyle, which has only existed since the industrial revolution and the invention of new means of transport, i.e., for around 300 years.
Written on 04/06/22

According to a study by health insurer DKV which, together with the Cologne Sports University, evaluated the data of 2800 representative respondents aged 18 and over, Germans sit for an average of 8.5 hours per working day. The trend that we are becoming increasingly sluggish is continuing, says DKV CEO Clemens Muth.

Sitting for long periods of time not only increases the risk of obesity and diabetes. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cramped shoulders due to poor posture, back pain and atrophied leg muscles are often the result of too much sitting and too little exercise. 

Therefore,  in addition to regular fitness activities after work it is important to integrate more movement and exercise into your office routine or when working from home :

  • Work standing up: modern office furniture offers you the possibility to work while standing up. For example, make phone calls while standing or ensure that you stand for fifteen minutes per hour of work.
  • Store documents and papers in higher cupboards : this automatically builds in stretching exercises.
  • Move the printer and copier to another room: This will force you to walk and will give you extra exercise.
  • If possible, try to commute to work by bike. If you live too far away - park your car farther away so that you still have some walking distance to your workplace, or get off one bus stop or train station early.
  • Build in short stretches and exercise sessions at your desk: Find inspiration on YouTube:
  • Walk up and down stairs and don’t use the elevator. This not only increases your stamina  but also gets your cardiovascular system going.

It's also important to set up your workstation ergonomically: Is your monitor at the right distance, are your chair and desk at the right height and is the light optimally aligned? This combination of ergonomically correct working and sufficient movement during and after work helps you stay healthy.

Keep on moving!



- Der DKV Report 2021,