Many of us spend long hours at work sitting at a desk and boosting one’s health can be quite challenging. In order to stay healthy or to improve health, you need to stay active daily.
Sitting for long periods of time has negative implications to your health and if your work involves sitting a lot and using a computer, make sure you’re sitting in the right position. But maintaining a good posture while sitting for long hours is not enough to boost your health at work. No matter how good your posture is, it’s important to get up, sit less, and move more. As a common advice, it’s important to take regular breaks and simple exercise if you work too much using the computer.
As today’s workers are prompted by an increasing sedentary time, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. In general, the best treatment is to stay active.
Evidence suggests that sitting for too long is bad for you and has possible health detriments in the future. Sitting for prolonged periods increases risk of work-related ill health from inactivity.
According to the National Health Service (NHS) Choices, the UK’s biggest health website, studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death. Sitting for long periods is thought “to slow the metabolism which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and break down fat”. Sitting for long periods in front of a computer is storing up trouble.
It’s time to boost your health at work. Here are friendly tips on getting active, reduce your sitting time, and minimise sedentary behaviour.
Don’t sit in the same position for long periods. Make sure you change your position as often as practicable. Break up long periods of sitting with light activity. Health experts recommend breaking up sedentary time every 30 minutes for at least one to two minutes.
Frequent short breaks are better for your back than fewer long ones. It gives the muscles a chance to relax while others take to strain. This can prevent your back becoming stiff and tense. It’s important to take regular breaks if you work on a computer a lot.
Recent research has stated that “exercising at least 60 minutes a day can offset the negative effects of sitting too much throughout the day.” Many of us spend long hours at work but getting active at work is easier than you may think.
There are ways to get active at work and reduce sitting time. You can discuss project ideas with a colleague while taking a walk. You can walk over to someone’s desk at work rather than speaking to them by phone. Stand while talking on the telephone. Take the stairs instead of the lift or you can use your lunch break to exercise or go for a walk.
But the question is “how much physical activity do workers/adults need to do to stay healthy? In order to stay healthy, adults need to do two types of physical activity each week, namely aerobic and strength exercises,” says the NHK Choices report. There are guidelines for you to follow to be active daily. You should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (or 30 minutes on 5 days a week) such as cycling or fast walking every week and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
Most of our hours are spent at work which means that working environment can play a big part in our health and well-being. There are many things that workers can do to reduce their risk of work-related ill health and use their time at work to boost their health. Being active daily can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of a range of diseases, help maintain ability to perform everyday tasks with ease, improves self-esteem, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and reduce your chance of having joint and back pain. It’s time to move more, sit less, and build strength.