Getting active at work
So many of us have office jobs that mean we’re sat down at a desk all day, every day, which isn’t great for our health, or for our waistlines. So here are some top tips from Physiotherapy Matters to help you get active at work.
Do you sit at your desk all day? Do you have a sedentary job?
Sedentary behaviour (sitting or lying down for long periods) has become a huge problem affecting a large percentage of our population, even sometimes referred to as “the new smoking”. Being too sedentary throughout the day, even if you exercise at other times, is strongly linked with an increased risk of health issues, weight gain, increased risk of type 2 diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders such as lower back, neck, shoulder and wrist pain.
So how do I reduce my sedentary lifestyle?
We understand you have to work, and that your job may be desk based, you also may have a busy social life with family and friends which doesn’t allow time to get to the gym. However, your health should be a priority and the gym isn’t the only way to get fit. Try to sit less, walk more, use the stairs and move your body regularly. Normal daily tasks such as housework, carrying shopping bags, gardening and DIY will require your muscles to work hard and maintain strength and endurance which is essential to maintain your health and fitness.
Exercise at work? What can I do?
These simple stretches can help ease the aches and pains associated with sitting for long periods, but it’s important to combine them with regular movement and physical activity.
Here are our top tips to increase daily activity at work:
- Use the stairs not the lift•Do not spend your lunch/break at your work station – get out and about and go for a walk
- Get up and away from your desk regularly (refill your drink, talk to a colleague, collect your printing)
- Set a reminder to remind you to move regularly every 30-60 minutes, even if it’s just standing up for a few moments or to take a phone call
- Try to lower motorised transport use a few days a week, walk to work if you can, get off the bus a couple of stops earlier or park your car further away
- Instead of using the phone/emailing get up and speak to your colleagues
What else should I be doing?
Current UK exercise guidelines recommend adults aged 19-64 take at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity each week, aiming to be active every day. Things such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, gym classes, Pilates, walking the dog are all great ways to achieve your exercise goals. But it’s about what you enjoy and what works for – everyone is different!
Getting active has loads of benefits, from reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers to also helping you sleep better and manage stress and mental health. Don’t just take our word for it – trying building movement into your working day and you’ll reap the benefits!