Study: Middle-Aged Office Workers ‘Spend as Much Time Sitting as Older Pensioners’

Just last week we wrote about the importance of finding ways to introduce movement into the workday, especially for desk workers — and how simple some techniques could be, such as creative ways to encourage employees to use the stairs.

The study titled “Increasing Stair Use in an Office Worksite through an Interactive Environmental Intervention” sought to “examine the effects of an interactive environmental intervention on stair usage.” The conclusion: “This interactive environmental intervention increased stair usage in an office setting relative to the comparison site, and this increase was sustained over a 6-week period. Adding interactive components to motivational or environmental change interventions shows promise in increasing stair usage.”

A new report from Scotland provides context around just why finding ways for desk workers to move more frequently is so important.

Workplace Insight reports that a new study shows that “middle-aged office workers are now more sedentary than pensioners.”

It states: “The study highlights the potential health risks of excessive sitting at work. The study found that 45 to 54-year-old men spend on average 7.8 hours per weekday sitting down, compared with 7.4 hours for the over-75s. Sedentary work is the main reason for this inactivity. Researchers drew upon data from more than 14,000 people in Scotland, taken from the 2012-14 Scottish Health Survey.”

Help is needed. As the study “Differences by age and sex in the sedentary time of adults in Scotland” states: Interventions to reduce [sedentary time] should consider differences in the relative contributions of [sedentary time] behaviours by age and work-status.”

What role might a well-run workplace wellness program play? Here we cited key interventions to reduce workplace sitting. As the study here noted: “Strategies that aim to increase workers’ perceived control and self-efficacy over their sitting time may be helpful components of sedentary behaviour interventions in the workplace.”

Further, there is the New York Times report that indicated that employees who are always wandering — or pacing — around may be the ones to emulate, an insight that could provide important insights into a well-run workplace wellness program.