The majority of research coming out of Australia and the US reveals that we are now sitting for approximately 9.4 hours per day…which is 2 hours greater than the average person sleeps per night. Add all this sedentary time together and it equals a recipe for disaster…albeit so gradual that it can go unnoticed.
The collective body of research also shows that sitting for long periods of time contributes to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attack, stroke and overall risk of death. Basically the longer you spend sitting the lower your life expectancy, the bigger your backside and waist circumference, and the slower your metabolism.
So what is the best way forward? Don’t worry, we don’t buy into the whole ‘let’s make our workstations powered by treadmills idea’ propagated by some lab researchers, who don’t have to worry about your company’s budget. We have come up with the 5 tips below that are simple, feasible, no-cost and will not only help your health, but also balance your stress levels, boost productivity and engage your creativity.
5 simple tips for increased movement at work:
- Hold ‘walking meetings’: Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs are known for their love of walking meetings. Moving both sides of our body helps engage both the left (analytical) and right (creative) sides of our brains. It is widely reported that Zuckerberg closed the $19 million purchase of ‘What’s App’ whilst out on one of his walks. Next time you have a problem to think through, hit the pavement!
- Use small glasses of water as desk: When it comes to hydration, rather than a big jug of water, use a small glass that you go to fill up hourly from the kitchen.
- Start the day with movement: What better way to prepare yourself for a productive day than to move. A morning walk, workout, or even simple stretches will help improve the circulation and oxygenation of your brain and body. We strongly believe that ‘motion creates emotion’ rather than the other way around (i.e. move and you’ll feel better, rather than waiting to feel better and then moving).
- Movement breaks are the new smoke break: Stand up and change your posture, take the stairs, walk over to a colleague rather than email them, take a call on your mobile phone so you can walk around. We suggest 5 minutes of every 60-90 minutes to be dedicated to movement.
- Don’t pick just one of the above – INCORPORATE them all: Even if you do start the day with exercise, this doesn’t then mean you can sit for the next 8 hours. Breaking up your day with strategic movement is just as important for the regular gym-goers or exercisers.
- A recent Stanford study found that creative thinking improves by up to 60% while a person is walking, and shortly thereafter. And better still, it doesn’t matter where you do it. They found that the act of walking itself, and not the environment you walked in (i.e. in the office or out in nature) was the main contributing factor.
- Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg, a senior researcher at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health states “Prolonged sitting has been shown to disrupt metabolic function resulting in increased plasma triglyceride levels, decreased levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and decreased insulin sensitivity.” Van der Ploeg and colleagues found that sitting for 11 or more hours per day increased risk of death by a whopping 40 percent, regardless of other activity levels. (NOTE: If you’ve participated in a Pro-Fit Health Screening recently, you should have received these important bio-markers. Knowing them is one thing, actively seeking to improve them is another)
Thanks for reading. Please share this around your office and try to educate your fellow staff members on the importance of moving more at work.
Until next month,
Pro-Fit Corporate Health
t: 1300 553360