From sitting to moving: 3 incentives for a healthy workday

As comfortable as it can sometimes be, sitting for long periods of time is not healthy by any means. Therefore, the health of those with desk jobs is at risk. But with some golden tips and smart organisation of the workplace, you can
get enough exercise.

A healthy body needs to move… all day long. So while an evening walk or jog can give you an energy boost, it does not compensate for the number of hours you spend seated during the workday. Get out of your office chair enough using these three incentives.


1. Organise your work smartly

Studies show that we can maintain uninterrupted focus on small tasks for up to 25 minutes.
On the other hand, we usually manage to stay focused on assignments that require more concentration for a maximum of 90 minutes. After that, a short brain break is crucial to maintain productivity. So good time management will help you complete to-do lists better and faster.  

But delineating your working and break times has other benefits. For example, short breaks are the perfect opportunity to get some exercise. A timer in Outlook will ensure you never lose track of the time and stretch your legs on time. 

Those who like an extra challenge can even install ‘take a break’ software. After each focus block, a pop-up will appear on your screen, reminding you to take a moment to unfocus and suggesting an exercise. 

Tip: is a free ‘take a break’ software. Can’t download programmes on your work laptop? Then the PomoDone app (Apple/Android) offers the ideal alternative. 

2. Regularly interrupt the time you spend seated

By standing up every half-hour, you will make a big difference with a little effort. Getting off
your chair regularly takes your metabolism out of standby mode and protects your body from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and back pain.

So enough alternation between working while seated or standing is the message. To make this
a habit, it is best to link certain routines to an activity. For example, go over emails standing up, walk around during phone calls, and organise meetings – whenever possible – outdoors. 

The environment also plays an important factor. For example, sit-stand desks encourage dynamic working. But also by placing the wastebasket further from your desk, installing the copier in another room and drinking water from a small cup, you create low-threshold incentives to break up sitting time more often.

3. Sit in a healthy, dynamic manner

Good basic posture helps reduce the pressure on your lower back. Important here is that you adopt a relaxed upright sitting position, with the angle between your thigh and torso being at least 90°C. This way, you allow your joints to rest in their natural positions.

At the same time, the ideal sitting position does not exist. At least: not for an extended period of time. Therefore, make sure you have a healthy variety of sitting postures. Slouching in your chair or leaning your elbows on the table isn’t necessarily unhealthy. And you can occasionally sit cross-legged. As long as you vary enough between different positions.

Moreover, whether a sitting position is good for your back depends on the chair you’re sitting on. Spending the workday on a kitchen chair is completely out of the question. Purchase an ergonomic office chair instead.  


First aid for (back) pain

Up to 84% of the Belgian population will suffer back pain at some time or other. So resting to allow the body to recover and to stop things from getting worse is then quickly seen as the correct solution. But that rarely provides solace. In most cases, back pain is harmless and disappears on its own thanks to adequate exercise. 

So working too long at a stretch in a seated position is not a good idea, including when you
have back pain. Stand up every half-hour for 10 minutes and assume a stable, sturdy position.
A straight back is essential. Bending the legs slightly or moving on the spot is recommended. 

Take a close look at employee well-being

Office workers are prone to specific health issues. For instance, they spend as much as 70% of their working time sitting down and are glued to a computer screen for hours. Our revamped e-Survey VDU Work will help you identify where the dangers lie and lay the groundwork for targeted actions to promote employee well-being.