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How To Stay Healthy At Work

by Alexandra Parren

how to stay healthy at work lifestyle

If you work at a desk job, you probably spend more time at your desk than anywhere else in your life and that comes with its drawbacks. The problem being that we know there is a problem, but sitting is so deeply rooted into office culture, it’s difficult to change it. So how can you stay healthy at work?

Be smart with your breaks

Sundried believe that supporting staff health should be part of our healthy company ethos, which is why we created the concept of EHOH. EHOH stands for ‘every hour on the hour’ and is simply the way we break up our long periods of sitting by adding workouts or just stretching our legs whenever an hour passes. The addition of exercise into your working day doesn’t have to cost your staff focus or paid time either.

A standard office worker will spend their entire 8 hours of work sitting down. Add to this another potential 2 hours each day commuting by car or train and you're spending most of your waking hours sedentary. EHOH proposes we shake up this regime. Instead of having a one-hour lunch break, we suggest breaking the 60 minutes into 6 10-minute breaks at hourly intervals throughout the day. This can help to alleviate back ache and other issues associated with long periods of sitting at a desk.

workout at work healthy coffee workspace office

Research supports working out at work

Research published in the Journal of Workplace Health Management by the University of Bristol found that employees who enjoyed a workout before going to work or exercised during lunch breaks - were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them.

It also found that people's general mood improved on days of exercise but they became more anxious on days without exercise.

The research, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, is the first of it's kind to prove that exercise during work hours has mental, as well as physical benefits. Of those involved with the research, seventy two per cent reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days, seventy nine per cent said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised and seventy four per cent said they managed their workload better.

A study by the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that incorporating just 2.5 hours of exercise per week into the workday led to a noticeable reduction in absences.

So a happier more time efficient, focused workforce who get more work done can be achieved just by encouraging exercise at work.

But what about all the cakes and office snacking…

Working out at work can make you hungrier yes, but typically eating at the desk is brought on by boredom and not physical hunger. Therefore having the mental stimulation each hour of a short workout can help to encourage you to eat less and stay more focused.

Working out at work shouldn’t be a matter of frantically doing dips off your desk every time the boss leaves the room, exercise should be a priority for employers. Fit and healthy staff also means less sick days.

Workout at work to be all day active

Research has shown that even those who exercise after work are at risk of severe health issues if they continue to sit for the rest of the day.

Dr. David Alter, a heart expert from the University of Toronto and senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute found that sitting too much—even among people who exercise regularly—led to higher rates of hospitalisation, heart disease and cancer and even premature death.

The researchers looked at 47 studies that asked people how much time they spent sitting and exercising, as well as rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death from any cause. The more hours people in the studies spent sedentary—like watching TV or sitting behind a desk—the higher their risk of all of these negative outcomes. Heavy sitters showed a 90% higher risk of developing diabetes than those who sat less, an 18% higher chance of dying of heart disease or cancer, and 24% greater odds of dying from any cause. These rates were the average among people who both exercised regularly and those who did not.

The Sundried collection has been developed to encourage all day activity, where exercise is intrinsic. From working in the office to cycling to meetings our activewear is smart and functional.

Walking meetings

It doesn’t have to stop at EHOH either, a pilot study on walking meetings conducted at the University of Miami discovered that office workers who swapped one seated meeting a week for a walking meeting added an extra 10 minutes of physical activity easily into their regular routine.

The research saw 17 employee’s from the university conduct one of their 30-60 minute meetings whilst walking. They were encouraged to bring water, sunblock and other necessities.

On average their moderate - intense physical activity increases as a result, from 107 weekly minutes to 117 weekly minutes by the third week following the new protocol.

The researchers also noted that whilst the walking meetings were not large calorie burners, what they did do was significantly improve the employees moods by breaking up sedentary spells.

"The data collected from this pilot study suggest that walking meetings were not only well accepted by our sample of workers but were easy to implement and feasible to conduct," Alberto Caban-Martinez and his team wrote in Preventing Chronic Disease, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We need to create a shift in office norms, instead of bringing in a cake on your birthday, why not have the birthday burpees ? Earn that cake! All it takes is one office worker to start EHOH and eventually the other’s will follow (even if they don’t want to, eventually the guilt will get to them)!

A shift in office culture has to start somewhere, so join us and get your office moving with EHOH and workout at work.

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