Chair-bound Brits’ daily sit time same as a UK to Caribbean flight

13 February 2017

13 February 2017: Workers in Britain are racking up an average of nine hours sitting-time a day – and when they're not in a chair or aching because of one, they're falling out with others over them, new research from AXA PPP healthcare has found.*  

The healthcare company’s poll of 2000 people who use a chair during some or most of their working day found that, on average, they’re spending five hours sitting at work, an hour or more seated while travelling to and from work and over three hours sitting down during their own time. This nine-hour sit time total is tantamount to a UK flight to the Caribbean, a drive from Brighton to Edinburgh or climbing and descending Snowden.

With so much time spent being sedentary it’s not surprising that over seven out of ten (73 per cent) respondents reported suffering from musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck and shoulder pain.

Yet, whilst the research shows that most workers (86 per cent) are aware of the potential health hazards of a sedentary existence (as well as musculoskeletal problems this includes coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes**), fewer than half of them (43 per cent) say they try to do something about it by getting out of their seats regularly. Twenty-seven per cent say they feel they can’t do anything about it and 19 per cent maintain being seated for protracted periods of time won’t affect their health. Twelve per cent said they were aware of the danger but ‘didn’t care’.

Jan Vickery, ‎Head of Musculoskeletal Services for AXA PPP healthcare, comments: “Sitting for prolonged periods of time can create muscle and joint problems and/or exacerbate existing ones. The intensity and pace of working life today makes it all too easy to fall into the trap of staying rooted to our seats for protracted periods and then slumping into a comfy chair when the working day done. But it’s important to break up the long-haul sitting style with regular spells of activity to re-energise and promote better health and to lower the risks associated with sedentary living – both now and over longer term.”

For Brits and their chairs it doesn’t end there. Almost four out of ten confessed to having had a spat with someone over a seat at work, at home or in public, with respondents reporting disagreements caused by a range of discourteous or annoying behaviours such as another person grabbing a seat they were about to use (16 per cent), or the other party occupying their seat (14 per cent). ‘Space invaders’ (taking up two seats or encroaching respondents’ personal space, 13per cent and 11 per cent respectively) were another source of irritation as were squatters who altered (12 per cent) or left a mess on the respondent’s chair (12 per cent).

Jan Vickery concludes: “While there may be very little we can do to change other people’s selfish behaviour and poor manners, we can take greater control over our own chair habits for better health. It’s important to keep check on the length of time we’re seated and avoid unbroken stretches of static time. Make sure you take regular breaks – say, every half hour or so – to stretch your legs and clear your head. And try applying good active habits at home as well as at work so they become part of your natural behaviour. Taking such steps can make a big difference and help to make regular activity the norm rather than the exception.”

For helpful advice and tips on keeping muscles, bones and joints healthy visit


Further information

Notes to editors



Ben Faulkner/John DuBois AXA PPP healthcare press office 01892 612822

About AXA PPP healthcare

AXA PPP healthcare – one of the largest and most experienced private medical insurance providers in the UK – has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its specialist Health Services division.        AXA PPP healthcare has been named the Best Healthcare Provider for three years running in the Your Money Awards and, in June 2015, was awarded the prestigious accolade of European Large Contact Centre of the Year at the 2015 European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards, followed in September 2015 by the Best Customer Experience accolade in the Large Contact Centre category of the UK Customer Experience Awards 2015.

About AXA

The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 166,000 employees serving 107 million clients in 64 countries. In 2016, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 100.2 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.7 billion. AXA had Euro 1,429 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2016. In 2016 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 8th consecutive year.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Insurance, AXA PPP healthcare and AXA Ireland. AXA employs over 10,000 staff in the UK. The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY. 

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.