Prolonged and repeated sitting, whether at work, home or the car, is an increasing risk to our health. It causes obesity, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. A study from the University of Western Sydney also links sedentary lifestyles with cancer and a myriad of other health issues.
Research into maintaining muscle mass, strength and health among astronauts suggests we need to rethink the role of exercise in our lives.
Dr. Joan Vernikos, formerly of NASA’s Life Sciences Division and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, explains how small, repetitive actions associated with daily tasks keep us healthy, and why a gym membership or exercise program may not be enough:
“The key to lifelong health is more than just traditional gym exercise once a day, three to five times a week… The answer is to rediscover a lifestyle of constant, natural low-intensity non-exercise movement that uses the gravity vector throughout the day.”
Our bodies are designed for perpetual motion, to tackle the endless labour required by traditional life. The sum of small movements throughout the day outweighs the health benefits of a morning jog, as Dr. Vernikos mentions that “standing was more effective than walking” in her studies due to the exercise involved in changing posture.
But before you throw away your dishwasher, there are some simple ways to stand up against poor health at work.
Take Frequent Breaks
It’s easy to become lost in a computer task, and spend hours staring at the screen. HSG features a range of software to keep you active, and remind you to stretch during your day. See our Online Health page for more information. Taking a break also improves creativity and focus.
Change Your Commute
Since even walking to and from the bus stop can make a difference over a longer period of time, explore how you might get to work without the car.
According to a study by Medibank, workers in retail, call centre and office based environments spend 77% of their working day sitting down. People with sedentary jobs also tend to spend more of their free time sitting.
Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson and Ernest Hemingway all worked upright, in front of their standing desks. It’s just one of the things HSG considers as part of our Ergonomics Assessments, which promote healthy and injury-free workplace environments.
Exercise on the Job
Consider bringing a health class to your workplace, to encourage all of your staff to add simple exercises to their day. Many of the activities on our Corporate Health Classes page, such as corporate fitness programs, corporate yoga and corporate tai chi, are suitable for all ages and abilities, and can be customised to align your organisation’s values with health and wellbeing outcomes.
Call us today on 1300 889 073 to learn how we can help unlock your team’s creative potential.