Sedentary work? Physical activity prevents pain and improves your health!

Prolonged sedentary work, for example in front of a computer, strains the body and may increase the risk of pain in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. To avoid such pain, it is important to vary your working positions, take breaks and to do strength training of the muscles we use the most when working in front of a computer.

The human body is not designed to sit still in the same position for a long period of time, and on average we sit still for 9 hours each day (1). It is therefore important to vary our working position and move as often as we can. Prolonged sitting without regular physical activity can increase the risk of a number of lifestyle diseases.

Physical activity provides many health benefits and is an important and well-documented tool in the prevention and treatment of over 30 different diagnoses and conditions. There are convincing evidence of health benefits from regular physical activity in all age groups. Calculations show that physically active people gain an average of eight life years with good health (quality-adjusted life years) in a life cycle perspective, which includes both increased life expectancy and increased quality of life, compared with people who are inactive (2).

Everyday activities such as housework and gardening, using the stairs, walking and taking breaks are important means to reduce the time spent sitting still. Adults spend on average 60 percent of their time awake sitting still/being inactive. The health authorities recommend that long periods of sedentary work should be supplemented with low-intense physical activity like standing or walking. Research shows that for adults a few minutes of regularly active breaks from prolonged sitting (for example computer work) has a positive effect on parameters such as blood sugar and insulin levels (2).

Useful tips:

  • Take micro-breaks. Micro-breaks are short and frequent breaks during the day. Get up and take a  walk around the room, a short walk on the stairs, etc. This is especially important when working from home where you may not get the same amount of natural breaks as you do in the office
  • Vary your sitting position regularly. Avoid working with monotonous movements in front of the screen for longer periods
  • Work standing up if you have the opportunity. This increases the metabolism and provides good working conditions for both back, neck and shoulders as well as a positive load on weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and ankles
  • If possible, have meetings while standing up or walking
  • Take a coffee break or other short breaks while standing or walking
  • Avoid elevators – use the stairs
  • Exercise regularly. Find a form of exercise you enjoy, maybe together with a friend or colleague? Join the company sports team or Aker Care group exercise classes.


  1. Public Health Report 2018 Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  2. The Norwegian Directorate of Health: National advice regarding physical activity.