Evolution has designed us to be on the move – foraging, hunting and gathering – not sitting down for long periods of time. However, so many of us, find ourselves stuck behind a computer for the majority of our working day.
Research has linked a sedentary lifestyle to severe health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and premature death.
A sedentary lifestyle is also shown to have a negative impact on mental wellbeing and in particular an increased risk of depression. By connecting to things around us, to noticing and interacting with others, individuals can feel less stressed and more content.
Many people do not meet the minimum physical activity guidelines and are at risk of developing health issues from spending too much time being sedentary. Yet keeping our employees in good mental and physical shape underpins morale and engagement and has a positive impact on productivity.
Some simple changes can make a big difference:
Standing while commuting or walking to work.
Setting reminders to stand up every 30 minutes when working at a desk.
Standing up when on telephone calls.
Using the stairs instead of the lift.
Office floor walking to increase mobility and connect more to people.
Meet and greet visitors personally.
Walk and work. Have that catch-up chat walking outside with someone for a few minutes. It may improve both the quality of your connection and your fitness.
Many employers recognise the importance of providing a good working space and encouraging their staff to move more.
There are very good reasons to take action – a lack of physical activity is one of the top four causes of premature death, according to the World Health Organisation.
To support this, ‘On Your Feet Britain’ campaign on 26th April may just be a step in the right direction.
And to read more about the evidence regarding the potential hazards of sedentary work read the Expert Statement on the Sedentary Office.