How To Stay Active At Work

28th February 2020

Many experts now say that 10,000 steps a day is key to achieving good health, but for many who work in office jobs, this can seem like a pretty daunting challenge. Getting your steps up in the day is just as important as combating inactivity. Long periods of sitting have been linked to causing an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. The World Health Organization has now said that inactivity is the fourth biggest risk for global adult mortality. However, there are plenty of easy ways that you can be more active in the workplace.

Cycle/Walk to work

Cycling or walking to work even if it is only part of the way is a great way to start your day and get yourself feeling fit and fresh. Having a walk to work is a great way for you to turn up and be feeling energised with a clear mind ready for working, and not only is this going to affect your wellbeing it’s also likely that it will increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace. While we understand that this isn’t realistic for everybody, you can still find ways to make part of your trip more active. There are a number of different things you can try for example getting off the bus a couple stops earlier, parking your car a kilometre or two away or even getting the train part of the way and then walking into work.

Exercise schemes

There are government-funded schemes in place that are there to help promote activity and wellbeing. For example in 1999 the Government introduced the Cycle To Work Scheme. This has caused a massive increase in the number of people who have cycled to work in the last 20+ years. With well over 1 Million people across the UK saving money on bikes and accessories it is a good scheme to get involved with. It allows you to save on average between 25% and 39% on your brand new bike. If cycling isn’t for you there are other ways that your employer may be able to support you in staying active. Many large businesses are recognising the benefits of their employees working out and are building recreational and sports facilities for their employees to utilise. However, there are also many small companies now who are seeking partnerships with local gyms to provide their employees with discounted gym membership rates.

Walking at lunch

Why don’t you take a breath of fresh air for a little while? Leave the office, clear your head and come back feeling refreshed. Many people end up spending their lunch break sat at the desk watching their screen. It’s key that you’re actually taking your lunch break 52% of workers saying they skip their lunch break completely it’s beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing, as well as this it’s also a good opportunity to get active. Have a change of scenery rather than your desk or the kitchen, take a stroll to the park and enjoy your dinner or maybe get your blood pumping and go for a short run or go for a quick nearby gym session. There are many ways to better utilise your lunch break and come back feeling in a better mood for the afternoon.

Exercise ball vs standing desk

Swapping out your office chair for an exercise ball or a standing desk can have many health benefits for you without really realising the true extent of the positives. When swapping your desk chair for an exercise ball not only does bouncing around boost your mood but it is brilliant for your posture. By sitting on the ball it forces proper spinal alignment which is helpful in preventing injuries and lower back and neck pain. It doesn’t just strengthen your back either it also will help to subtly work your core, hip and leg muscles. When it comes to having a standing desk it can sound quite daunting at the thought of having to stand up for 8 hours or more but people who try a standing desk often don’t go back. You are going to be less likely to feel sleepy if you’re standing so you’re going to drink less coffee and also more likely to stretch and pace around the office which is going to make you even more alert. A recent study has shown that sitting for long periods of time is going to shorten your life expectancy and increase your risk of dying from things such as heart disease, cancer and host of other illnesses. However, your standing desk is going to get you up on your feet and promote good health. Not only are you preventing disease you’re also going to be burning between an extra 160-400 calories for every 8 hours you’re stood up.

Take the stairs

It’s as simple as that. Get your blood pumping by making the conscious decision to actually take the stairs. We all know we should probably take the stairs rather than the lift but how often do we really do it? It’s a case of breaking habit, so start by taking it easy and going up the stairs just once a day at first then build up from there until it becomes automatic for you.

There are many ways in which you are able to stay fit whilst at work whether it be changing it up at the desk or simply getting away from your desk more and spending time outside. There are many small conscious changes you can make to your everyday life that is going to improve your wellbeing and mental health.

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