Sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity are causes of major health risks including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and cancer. Workplace is an ideal setting to understand both the prevalence of these risks and for devising and implementing effective intervention strategies. It is now possible to perform direct workplace assessments to identify the sedentary prevelance and assess the sedentary related health risks, which can include assessing the risks of atherosclerosis, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, hyperglyaemia and reduced cardiorespiratory capacity.
Based on evaluating the workplace health risks, it is possible to indetify individuals who may be at higher CVD risk so they can be targeted with a risk-reduction intervention that can also be tailored towards improving healthy behaviours, especially towards physical activity activity and exercise. This chapter explains workplace sedentary risks, and provides examples of CVD risk prevalence, particularly within the university campus workplace, and presents examples of an exercise based targeted interventions aimed at reducing CVD risks amongst high risk sedentary employees. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles that use energy.
This includes exercise and other activities such as playing, walking, doing household responsibilities or gardening. Regular and organised physical activity can form the term “exercise” and is known to be associated with less risk of injury compared with doing “sports” with soccer as a prime example. If an individual is being physically inactive, it could include certain “sedentary” behaviour such as watching TV or lying down.