For 2017, why not aim to be more active? You can start gently and gradually introduce more demanding goals. You don’t even have to leave the office to start making a difference
More than 3,500 workers from businesses across England took part in this year’s Shake Up September, a sporting challenge set up to encourage employees to take more exercise.
The programme, run by Workplace Challenge, urged employees to try as many sports as they could, taking inspiration from the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio. The top performer in England was Diane Stokes from Hinckley and Rugby Building Society in the East Midlands who logged 31 unique activities in 30 days.
Commenting on Shake Up September, Lee Mason, chief executive of the County Sports Partnership Network, which runs Workplace Challenge, said: “It’s been a lot of fun, but there is also a serious message behind all of this. Campaigns like Shake Up September and our Lunchbreak Manifesto, which encourages people to get active on their lunch break, are designed to help people introduce physical activity in and around the working day. Not enough people are exercising and it is having a serious effect on our health, which is why we want businesses to encourage their employees to get active.”
Sport is one way to do this, but there are plenty of other ways in which office workers can be more active. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Take public transport instead of your car. Using public transport rather than driving to work is better for you and the environment. Standing while waiting for a bus/train, walking to and from the bus stop/station, and opting to stand while on the bus/train will really increase your activity levels. If you do need to drive to work, park further away from the office and walk the difference.
2. Sit-stand desks. Instead of sitting down all day, alternate between sitting and standing with a sit-stand desk or retro-ft desktop solution. Just make sure you don’t spend too long on your feet, as that produces problems of its own. Find out more by downloading Osmond Ergonomics’ sit-stand best practice guide at www.osmondgroup.co.uk/fles/Sit_Stand_Tips.pdf
3. Take the stairs not the lift. Taking the stairs is a simple way to introduce movement into your daily routine. A smart watch or ftness tracker like the Philips health watch and companion app could give you the encouragement you need. Use it to count steps, measure your daily activity, set goals and programme alerts to stop you from spending too long sitting down.
4. Deskercise. Even if a busy schedule makes it hard to set aside a fixed time for exercise every day, you can always perform discreet exercises while working at your desk. Try leg or heel raises, simple stretches and shoulder rolls to dissipate tension.
5. Speak to colleagues face-to-face. Don’t email or phone colleagues in the same office; walk over to them instead. Doing so will improve your circulation and give your eyes a screen break 6. Use a headset. Boost your step count with a wireless headset that lets you make and take calls while moving around. Standing up to make a call will make you sound more confident and assertive as well.
7. Re-design your workspace. Arrange your office in a way that encourages movement, for example by locating your printer, scanner, rubbish bin etc. away from your desk. Yes, it’s fun to try and lob things into the bin, but walking over to put them in might be better for you.
8. Go for a walk at lunchtime. Avoid eating at a desk and go outside at lunchtime.
9. Introduce walking meetings. Enjoy the health benefits of walking by suggesting a walking meeting. A pilot study by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that changing just one sit-down meeting per week into a walking meeting increased the work-related physical activity levels of white-collar workers by 10 minutes (source: Opportunities for Increased Physical Activity in the Workplace: the Walking Meeting, published by Preventing Chronic Disease).
10. Increase unconscious movement. As well as increasing conscious movement through ‘deskercise’ and walking more, office workers can improve their health by increasing unconscious movement. Try Hovr, a new solution that allows you to unconsciously swing and twist your legs while sitting, or the Fellowes Foot Rocker, a foot rest with a rocking motion that improves circulation and reduces fatigue.