Staying active at work is a predicament that affects pretty much anyone who works in an office or at home. From an evolutionary point of view, we’re not really meant to be spending long portions of the day sitting down; we should be out foraging for food, killing animals and other activities that involve us being on our feet. But things change. And the fact of the matter is that a huge number of us now spend most of our working days sat staring into a computer screen. And, somewhat unsurprisingly, it’s not good for our health. Some may even call it a modern day epidemic.
What’s the risk?
The NHS agrees; research has found that an inactive lifestyle can lead to a 112% increase in the risk of diabetes, a huge 147% increase in cardiovascular events (heart problems to us lay people), and a 49% increase in death due to any cause. That’s pretty morbid, but no less shocking. And according to The Lancet, inactivity costs the world the not-exactly-small amount of $67.5 billion every year. That’s roughly the total GDP of Costa Rica.
What are the options?
So we’re sat down more at work, not taking lunch breaks, watching more TV when we get home, exercising less. It’s no surprise we’re all about to keel over, so what can we do about it? Well there’s plenty in all honesty. There’s always time outside of work to squeeze in a bit of extra exercise if we really put our minds to it, but it’s during work hours we could all do with a bit of kick up the backside to get moving.
This is where this infographic from JFK Binding might be able to help a little. Focusing largely on the topic of office yoga, it details several yoga exercises you can do at work to keep a little more active. Now you might be thinking yoga at work is a bit of an odd concept, but it’s not that uncommon anymore. Just take a look at this article on America’s healthiest companies and check how many are offering yoga classes for their employees.
Time to consider yoga…
The benefits of yoga are numerous, including improving your posture and balance, increasing blood flow, upping your heart rate, and even helping you sleep better. So if you do have the chance to have a go then it could be well worth your while and really help combat the negative effects of sitting down all day.
However, you may well feel a little self-conscious stretching here, there and everywhere whilst your colleagues are beavering away at work, so the graphic has handily also given some readymade excuses you can hand out to your work mates in case they gives you a few funny looks. So if you’re doing the seated backbend, just tell them you’re celebrating sending an amazing email, or if people are giving you the side eye in the middle of your desk shoulder opener, just say you’re looking for a contact lens on the floor.
So what else can you do to get more active at work? There are some pretty easy quick fixes that will get you up and out of your chair, such as stand up or walk around when on the phone, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and walking to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing them. Just doing these little things will help get your blood flowing and probably help you concentrate more at work.
Big companies are getting better and better at providing such opportunities for their employees to stay healthy whilst at work, as it benefits everyone in the long run. For example, Google provides on-site fitness classes and even a bowling alley, whilst Twitter runs CrossFit classes for its employees. General Electric even have a 24/7 health hotline and they make smokers pay more in health care contributions.
So what could you do to stay active at work? It will make your healthier, happier, and it might just even save your life.
About the author: Chris Thomson is a digital marketer who writes about productivity, health & wellbeing. He enjoys a good walk on his lunch break.