Tips on staying healthy in the workplace

Do you spend long hours chained to your desk?

In recent years the perils of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have been widely accepted – but the link between sitting and health problems was first made in 1949. Scientist Jerry Morris discovered London bus drivers were twice as likely to suffer heart attacks than bus conductors who were on their feet all day. In the following decades, mounting evidence has shown that office work poses a threat to public health, increasing the risk of heart disease, obesity and early death. Meanwhile long hours spent staring at computer screens can cause eye strain, headaches and migraines.

Physical inactivity costs the global economy $67.5bn (£54.3bn) per year, comprising $58.8bn in healthcare and $13.7bn in lost productivity, according to a major report published in the Lancet in July. The study found that people need at least an hour of physical activity a day to counter the ill effects of every eight hours spent sitting.

With work becoming increasingly desk-bound – and people spending more hours chained to their desks – it can be hard to find the time to integrate physical activity into the working day. Lead author of the Lancet report Prof Ulf Ekelund acknowledges that taking breaks during the working day is not easy for some people. “It’s OK doing some brisk walking, maybe in the morning, during lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day, but you need to do at least one hour,” he says.

Source: The Guardian – Sarah Shearman – 6th November 2016


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