According to new statistics released by workplace design and management publication Insight last month, low-activity lifestyles could be killing more than 70,000 UK workers every year.
What’s equally as concerning is that this is thought to be costing the NHS around £700 million each year, through extra treatments for heart disease and diabetes.
What exactly constitutes a sedentary lifestyle?
A sedentary person gets little to no exercise every week, with a lifestyle which involves sitting down for more than 6 hours each day.
On analysing the data available, The Insight study approximates that around 17% of diabetes cases, 5% of heart disease and 8% of lung cancer incidents could be significantly reduced with less sitting.
Leonie Heron, from Queen’s University Belfast, was at the helm of the newly published study:
“[…] even if you meet the recommended levels of activity, you are still at higher risk of some of these health conditions if you are spending long periods of time sitting down during the day. Although if you are active, you will attenuate the risk.”
Despite the demands of work confining some of us to desks for a good proportion of the day, here are a few things to try.
There’s an app for that!
When you’re buried under an avalanche of deadlines and engrossed in your to-do list, hours can fly by without you even realising it.
Download an app to your smartphone or high-tech wrist gadget which will buzz regularly to remind you to stand up, shake it off and go cash some steps into the step bank.
Make phone calls on the move
Whether you’re a full-time office worker or a nomadic freelancer, we’re now very rarely tethered to a desk by our phones. Modern technology allows us much greater mobility when carrying out meetings or taking calls.
Next time you pick up the blower or need a quick brainstorming session with a colleague, do it on foot. Better still, take it outdoors to get some fresh air while you’re at it.
Change positions regularly
Sitting in one position for long periods of time can cause the body to feel stiff and even painful, neither of which particularly encourage movement. If you’ve got a bit of spare cash at the end of the financial year, consider swapping your old desk for a height-adjustable or sit-stand alternative.
If funds for fancy ergonomic furniture just aren’t available, improvise. Use any appropriate surface in your home or office (like your kitchen counter) as a make-shift desk so you can stand at your computer for various stints throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be glamorous, as long as it gets you up out of that seat!
Finding ways to boost your mobility can help your health, physically and mentally, with an excellent effect on your business.