Active offices: Changing workplace culture by "breaking up the day"
de Grood, Chloe
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The average adult is sedentary between 55 and 71% (9 to 11 hours) of their waking day, many of these in the workplace. Recent research into healthy lifestyles has shifted from measuring time spent in physical activity, to time spent in sedentary behaviours. Independent of regular physical activity, sedentary behaviour contributes to major negative health outcomes, namely obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and depression, in addition to reduced workplace productivity and increased absenteeism due to illness. In collaboration with Vivo for Healthier Generations, a community recreation centre in Calgary, Alberta, we performed a pilot project that aimed to reduce sedentary behaviour through feasible and sustainable changes in workplace practice. With the support of their employer, volunteers had their offices retrofitted with sit-stand desks and anti-fatigue mats for a six-month workplace intervention. To complement the workstations, participants were offered motivational support and created individual action plans to personalize their movement goals. Participants in the study were provided workshops, newsletters, and other positive social prompts designed to embed standing and walking into a daily office routine. A mixed-methods approach was used in this six-month pilot study to fully explore the objective measures and the story of the participants.