It has frequently been said that sitting down is the smoking of our generation. Long periods of inactivity can be extremely bad for our health and working to avoid falling into this routine is essential if we are to keep ourselves as healthy as we can. This, of course, is easier said than done, especially if you have a desk job as so many of us do! A study into this concept that took place in America discovered that men who sit down for six or more hours every day are 20% more likely to die from an associated problem than men who sit down for three hours or less each day. Additional studies have linked extended periods of inactivity to increased blood pressure, a higher incidence of cancer and the risk of diabetes.
Given these facts, it is common sense that increasing the amount of physical activity that you partake in each day is a great idea. However, the benefits of physical activity are much more far reaching than this. Research has shown that frequent movement can also aid with problem solving skills which is generally beneficial in the workplace.
So how can you find ways to add more movement to your day when you are restricted by a desk job?
Several innovative solutions to this problem have begun to emerge in recent years, with treadmill desks and standing desks becoming more readily available. Standing while you work has been praised as a solution to this problem and also encourages you to stretch your limbs throughout the day as you are not confined to a chair. Standing to work for at least two thirds of your day has the potential to greatly reduce the negative health effects associated with inactivity.
If it is not possible for you to obtain a standing desk or a treadmill desk then it is important that you take your health into your own hands. I would advise that you never sit still for more than an hour at a time. Set an alarm to make sure this is not the case and spend between five and ten minutes walking and stretching every hour. You can take a wander to the toilet, to the kitchen to make a drink or even to a co-workers desk. It doesn’t matter where you move to as long as you get up and do it! Setting yourself a water quota for the day will not only help to keep you adequately hydrated but will also serve as an excuse to get up and move to fill your glass. Between seven and nine glasses a day is advisable and will also help you to eradicate sugary, unhealthy drinks from your day.
It is also useful to find physically active ways to get to and from work. Don't spend your commute sat still on the train, bus or tube! Get yourself a bicycle and make your own way. Not only will you get fit, but you will also save money as you avoid paying for transport costs. Check if your workplace has a cycle to work scheme and find a safe route from your home to the office.
Making self-care a priority in all aspects of your life is the best way to maintain optimum health and your working day should be no exception!