• According to a new study, decrease in workplace physical activity over the past fifty years is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic and daily caloric expenditure is lost while sitting at a desk all day. This means that even those of us who incorporate running into our daily routine need to also think about getting up and moving around whilst we are at work.
    According to a new study, decrease in workplace physical activity over the past fifty years is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic and daily caloric expenditure is lost while sitting at a desk all day. This means that even those of us who incorporate running into our daily routine need to also think about getting up and moving around whilst we are at work. © runbritain
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Run Britain - News - Physical activity should not only occur in planned training

According to a new study, decrease in workplace physical activity over the past fifty years is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic and daily caloric expenditure is lost while sitting at a desk all day. This means that even those of us who incorporate running into our daily routine need to also think about getting up and moving around whilst we are at work.

The study was carried out in the USA and the researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge analysed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from the 1960s to 2008. They found that over the past five decades, physical activity during work has dramatically declined, causing men to burn an average of 142 fewer calories a day at work and women, 124.

"We have transitioned from jobs that primarily involved doing physical activity on our feet to ones where most of us make our living while sitting," said Timothy Church, lead author of the study.

According to The New York Times, the report stated that 50 percent of jobs in the 1960s were in manufacturing and farming, which required moderate physical activity. Today, however, 80 percent of jobs are sedentary or require little activity. The figures are likely to be similar for the UK.

Ross C. Brownson, an epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, told The New York Times that health care professionals and the general public need to broaden the definition of physical activity as it is not something that should only occur during planned exercise such as running and working out at the gym.

While previous research has hinted to an association between weight gain and lack of activity in the workplace, Church's study could be the first to estimate how much daily caloric expenditure is lost while sitting in front of the office computer. Church pointed out that the findings should help health care professionals, who have spent years focusing primarily on eating and physical activity outside of work, refocus their efforts against obesity.

It should also put pressure on employers to come up with new workplace health initiatives to encourage more physical activity at work. Some companies have already set up standing workstations, while others are experimenting with treadmill-style desks. Employers can also encourage walking by placing printers farther away from desks and cubicles.

Inactive work

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