There have been quite a number of blog posts, and here’s another, about the effects of sitting for long periods on our health, the one I came across today was referencing a paper which talked about how sedentary behavior is detrimental to our cardiovascular health. The paper talks about how being more active through the day can aid our well being alongside regular exercise and discusses how simply getting up and moving around regularly through the day can help along with going for a short walk during breaks.
The paper talks about walking around whilst on the phone and also changing position regularly when seated as well as the idea of getting out for a short walk during lunch breaks. Given that the suggestion is that any kind of movement is good, when the prospect otherwise is sitting relatively still for hours, then it does make you think that perhaps the introduction of desk that can be used both seated and standing and headsets for those who use the phone regularly would be an investment for any company truly interested in the health of their staff.
As well as the idea of taking a walk during lunch breaks it might also be worth thinking of including exercise in the journey to work. A recent study in the US found that 20 minutes of aerobic exercise resulted in better performance in an exam with children aged 9-10 years old. Simply walking to work where possible would add significant activity to most peoples day and quite possibly result in better performance at work. If there were showering facilities, not always available, there is the option of adding in harder exercise in the form of running to work or if there aren’t any shower facilities then perhaps walk to work and run home. Cycling to work is another option and unless things are particularly hilly often means you don’t need a shower when you get there. This would also help overall improvements in general fitness and, perhaps more importantly, aid in improving a number of health markers such as blood pressure and insulin sensitivity as shown in this study. Whilst the study is small it does suggest that you don’t need to be doing a huge amount of exercise to make improvements if you can combine this with more overall activity through the day and it is perhaps more about changing our attitude towards how we fit exercise into our day and make it easier to increase our activity levels generally.