What Kind of Work Is Usually Classified As Sedentary?

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations classifies work as sedentary if it involves only occasional walking or standing and no lifting over 10 pounds. Two hours per eight-hour workday of standing or walking is occasional per Social Security rules. Psychotherapist, programmer, administrative assistant and finance director are sedentary jobs.

Taxi and bus driving, copy writing, answering phones in a call center, data analysis and accounting are other examples of sedentary work. Social Security also identifies a number of nonexertional activities within its definition of unskilled sedentary work. These include understanding and the ability to follow simple instructions. When an individual is limited in these activities his exertional capacity alone is not enough to qualify him for sedentary employment.

Sedentary work increases an individual's risk for a number of health problems: obesity, cancer, heart disease and various metabolic disorders. Standing up while on the phone, use of a standing desk, walking during lunch and breaks, and standing up or walking during business meetings are options for decreasing these risks. Research indicates that even small amounts of such activities during the workday have significant impact. Research also shows that exercising at a gym or doing other physical activities outside of working hours does not counteract the health risks of a sedentary workday.