Time to get up

March 1, 2012

Before I joined the National Safety Council, I believed that an office is a safe working environment, and that the only major health issue to contend with was making sure I didn’t catch a co-worker’s cold. Years – and multiple Safety+Health articles on the topic – later, I’ve become aware of the many ways an office worker can be hurt. And now, recent studies have concluded that sitting at work can be even more harmful to one’s health than previously believed.

In her feature this month, Associate Editor Ashley Johnson points out some of those studies. She also interviews a researcher who has invented a piece of equipment intended to help combat the sedentary aspects of the typical office job. While it’s safe to say that because of the current economy many employers would be unwilling to shell out big bucks for such a device, the researcher’s overall message – encourage your office workers to get up and move – can be taken to heart.

I know how tough it is for many of you to tear yourself away from your desk. Over the past few months, several large projects have kept me in my chair for long periods of time. During one particularly tough week, NSC scheduled an all-staff meeting. Halfway through the meeting, a presenter asked attendees to stand, and he led us through a series of stretches. Even those gentle movements made it clear how stiff I had become. That day, and every workday since, I’ve made sure I’m out of my chair at least once an hour.

My fitness regimen has room for improvement. But I’m taking steps, and here’s a small one: As soon as I finish typing this, I’m going to get up and walk over to talk to a colleague to whom I’d normally send an email. If you’re sitting in your office chair while reading this, I hope you’ll do the same. Be well.

The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.