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Staying active while working on your computer

Working on computers often involves long periods of being sedentary at your desk. So plan movement into your day to reduce the risk of pain and chronic diseases.

Exercising before or after work doesn’t protect you from these health risks if you spend most of your day sitting.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 138MB)

Computer-based work often involves long periods of sitting in the same spot, which can lead to sprain and strain injuries, obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

There’s even an increased risk of dying prematurely for people who sit for more than 11 hours a day - this includes sitting on the bus, train, or in your car getting to and from work or on the couch when you get home!

Exercising before or after work doesn’t protect you from these health risks if you spend most of your day sitting.

A healthy workplace encourages people to move more and sit less.

Redesign your office to encourage movement.

You could include sit/stand options for computer work and meetings.

Locate photocopiers, printers and bins in a central place.

Or why not redesign the office to include end of trip facilities to encourage active commuting.

Once you’ve redesigned, it’s important to educate and create a healthy culture. Encourage workers to create a routine that schedules movement throughout the day, changing sitting posture every 30 minutes.

Moving regularly will help reduce risks associated with sitting for long periods of time.

Provide workers with earphones to walk and talk.

Encourage workers to eat healthy lunches away from their desk and provide physical exercise options at the workplace.

Talk with your workers to get their ideas, and don’t forget to keep active when you’re working from home.

Now you know how to stay active, make sure you know how to set up your workstation and select and use your chair.

For more info visit worksafe.qld.gov.au and look out for more videos in this series.

Tips to get moving when you’re working

  • Position your printer, scanner, photocopier and rubbish bin away from your desk so you need to walk to them.
  • Use your sit/stand desk to change position regularly throughout the day.
  • Use a Bluetooth/wireless headset to allow you to stand and move during phone or video calls.
  • Vary your work tasks so that you change your postures and use different parts of your body.
  • Take short regular breaks to move away from your desk and aim to change your position every 30 minutes.
  • Find more active ways to get to work and getting around during the day, for example combine a meeting with a walk, park your car further away, get off the bus one stop earlier, use the stairs instead of the lift, go for a lunchtime walk.

You can read more in our Ergonomic guide to computer-based workstations.