Keeping active in the workplace

Do you work in an office job? Are you sitting at work for 8-10 hours a day? If you have a sedentary job this is worth reading!!! Sitting or lying down for long periods can be bad for your health.

If you work a standard 8-10 hour day think about how long you spend on your bottom. Sitting for long periods is thought to slow down metabolism and makes blood flow more sluggish, affecting our bodies ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. Recent observational studies have identified that prolonged periods of sitting  time and lack of whole-body muscular movement are strongly associated with mental health issues, obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, cancer and increased risk of general mortality.

Regular physical activity does not offset long periods of sitting. No matter how much physical activity you are doing outside of work, research suggests, you still need to ensure you are moving regularly throughout your work day.

Increasing your activity at work is also a positive for your employer. Getting up and moving regularly boosts your energy levels, attention and efficiency, ensuring that you are more effective throughout the working day.

At Osteohealth many common complaints we see are often managed successfully when people implement regular breaks from their desk and make simple ergonomic adjustments which encourage them to be more active, despite having a relatively sedentary job.

Not many people realise that they should be getting up from their desk at least every 20 minutes. This frequency may seem unachieveable but small changes in your workplace can make it very easy; here are some simple suggestions:

  • Purchase a pedometer, this will make you accountable. You can easily measure how many steps you are taking each day. Healthy adults should aim for 10,000 steps per day.
  • Park your car a block further away from work.
  • Don’t have everything within arms reach on your desk. This will ensure you have to stand and/or walk to certain objects throughout the day.
  • Walk to a colleagues desk to pass on a message or instruction instead of simply emailing.
  • Utilise a sit and stand work station.
  • Walk up the stairs at work and avoid the lift.
  • Stand whenever you are on the phone.
  • Have a glass of water on your desk, not a drink bottle. This will ensure you’re getting up to fill the glass regularly.
  • Stand and do regular stretches.
  • Don’t get home and flick on the TV; it’s too easy to get stuck on the couch for the rest of the night.

Try implementing these simple changes at work and you will be doing your body a favour.