The body wants to be moving, says Gregg the physiotherapist, “that’s how muscles remain strong and ligaments stay nice and supportive”.
But if we are to change our position substantially, who’s responsible for this? Clearly, people can take it upon themselves to move, but some of the reasons they sit are out of their direct control.
So far, there’s been little government interest in sitting per se. The Ministry of Health has no policy on workplace sitting; neither does sport and recreation agency SPARC. These agencies have focused their energies on exercise.
The former Department of Labour and ACC have a couple of joint papers with advice about sitting posture and use of computers. They warn against the dangers of “tasks that involve holding the same postures for long periods” and observe that “many people find standing a comfortable way to work” but they don’t endorse it.
Schofield says the need for movement is clear. Millions of taxpayer dollars are blown out on costs associated with treating chronic illness every year. Most of us have become accustomed to a very long and unhealthy rest whenever we go to work. “What are we resting from?”