WELLBEING BLOG. Simple strategies to add movement across the day

It may not be surprising to learn that sitting down too much is bad for our physical health. In latest blog, wellbeing expert HARRIETTE LUSCOMBE, from Coaches For Change, explains the problem and how to tackle it.

The British Heart Foundation states that people who are sedentary for long periods have been found to have higher rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death from all causes.

And these findings are not weight related. Not moving enough throughout the day poses physical health problems for everyone. In addition, not getting enough movement could also impact your mental health.

Research in 2021 showed that replacing sedentary behaviour with moderate to vigorous activity reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. In the UK, adults spend an average of 9.5 hours of their waking day not moving and work time is a common culprit.

Why do we do it? We often rationalise spending too much time at our desks because we think it helps us focus and get more done. However, paradoxically time spent sitting is not associated with productivity.

In fact, research has found that office workers who spent the least time sitting reported higher levels of job satisfaction and lower fatigue. Furthermore, research on office workers and students in the US showed that decision making ability and concentration increased with more movement breaks.

Here are a few strategies for you to get more movement at work – and to enjoy all thoose physical and mental health improvements and associated productivity and performance gains!

1/. Use a smaller water bottle. Yes! This sounds like an unusual one but really, stay hydrated with a smaller water bottle that you have to keep getting up to top up throughout the day.

2/ Move in your meetings. Try a walking meeting, or see if you can dial into zoom rather than be on camera and head out for a walk whilst on your phone. If that’s not possible just stand up. Simply spending more time standing is going to help counteract that sedentary behaviour.

3/ Take the last floor by stairs. We all know that stairs are good for us but we also don’t want to arrive at our desk as a hot and sweaty mess! So instead of doing all the stairs just stop the lift a floor earlier and take the stairs for the final flight. Bonus if people think you have done the whole lot!

4/ Make the most of your lunch break. Make this your ‘non-negotiable’ time. Even 10 minutes would be beneficial, but the more the better. If you can’t get outside, walk around your office or house.

5/ Park further away. Always have an umbrella in the car so you’ve got no excuses and don’t race for the spot closest to the office door. Park a little further away and enjoy banking those extra steps.

6/ Change your default meeting times. This one could be a gamechanger. Take 10 minutes off your default meeting times. 60 minutes become 50 and 30 become 20. Encourage meetings to be set with an agenda, challenge whether it’s necessary to attend and use the time pressure to keep people focused. You’ll end up with 10 minutes to get some movement in so take your pick – have a boogie to your favourite playlist, do some breathing exercises or some chair yoga.

And of course, join in our Westside Wellbeing events and our 45 minute exercise classes every Wednesday at 1pm!

We’d love to hear your tips and tricks for moving more – please feel free to comment below.

Pictures from Unsplash.

References:

  • Rogers EM, Banks NF, Trachta ER, Barone Gibbs B, Carr LJ, Jenkins NDM. Acceptability of Performing Resistance Exercise Breaks in the Workplace to Break Up Prolonged Sedentary Time: A Randomized Control Trial in U.S. Office Workers and Students. Workplace Health & Safety. 2024;0(0). doi:10.1177/21650799231215814
  • Travis J. Saunders, Travis McIsaac, Kevin Douillette, Nick Gaulton, Stephen Hunter, Ryan E. Rhodes, Stephanie A. Prince, Valerie Carson, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Sebastien Chastin, Lora Giangregorio, Ian Janssen, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Michelle E. Kho, Veronica J. Poitras, Kenneth E. Powell, Robert Ross, Amanda Ross-White, Mark S. Tremblay, and Genevieve N. Healy. 2020. Sedentary behaviour and health in adults: an overview of systematic reviews. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 45(10(Suppl. 2)): S197-S217. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2020-0272
  • Kandola, A.A., del Pozo Cruz, B., Osborn, D.P.J. et al. Impact of replacing sedentary behaviour with other movement behaviours on depression and anxiety symptoms: a prospective cohort study in the UK Biobank. BMC Med 19, 133 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-02007-3
  • https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/activity/sitting-down
  • Rosenkranz SK, Mailey EL, Umansky E, Rosenkranz RR, Ablah E. Workplace Sedentary Behavior and Productivity: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 8;17(18):6535. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17186535. PMID: 32911740; PMCID: PMC7558581.

ENDS

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