Office workers should spend at least two hours a day on their feet, says new guidelines.

Researchers from the universities of Chester, Leicester, Sheffield Hallam and University College London have made the standing suggestion as a way to combat health problems caused by too much sitting down.

It’s been estimated that people spend nine hours a day in chairs, which amounts to 60 per cent of their whole day. So much time spent at a desk or at home on the couch can lead to weight problems and obesity, and even serious health issues such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.

There are also physical side effects like back, neck and muscle pain. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for people taking time off work; the very place they probably incurred the painful problem!

The research was commissioned by Public Health England, with new suggested guidelines being published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Experts say employers should set a “daily quota” of time that staff should be up, starting at an initial two hours before being increased to four.

New, higher desks should be introduced so workers can do their work while standing, and employees should regularly walk around the office, breaking up long periods of sitting.

“For those working in offices, 65-75 per cent of their working hours are spent sitting, of which more than 50 per cent of this is accumulated in prolonged periods of sustained sitting,” wrote the authors.

“Employers need to evaluate the best ways to achieve this [more standing], whether through changing how and when people can take breaks from sitting, which involve standing and movement, or through workstation designs.” — Cover Media