How much exercise do we need to do to offset sedentary work effects?

One hour’s exercise is ideal

Prof Ulf Ekelund, of the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences and the University of Cambridge, led a recent study, the findings of which were reported in a BBC health news article of 27 July

He said: “For many people who commute to work and have office-based jobs, there is no way to escape sitting for prolonged periods of time.

“For these people in particular, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting exercise, whether it’s getting out for a walk at lunchtime, going for a run in the morning or cycling to work.

“An hour of physical activity per day is the ideal, but if this is unmanageable, then at least doing some exercise each day can help reduce the risk.”

But he admitted: “One hour’s moderate activity is substantially higher than current recommendations.”

At least make a start

In the same article, Dr Mike Loosemore, from the English Institute of Sport, added: “An hour of brisk walking is hard work this is essentially moderate exercise, I suspect not many people would be able to manage that amount of moderate activity a day.

“So if you change the guidelines then it puts them even further out of reach of the people who would benefit most from increasing their physical activity, which are those that do very little.

“For the vast majority of people while the best way to stay healthy would be to do an hour of moderate activity a day, realistically the best place to start is reducing your sedentary behaviour at work by sitting less and try to increase whatever physical activity you are doing.”

Improving workplace health

With many workplaces being based around deskwork, employers have a significant  role to play in promoting workplace health.

Paying more attention to the physical health and fundamental needs of staff and encouraging them to make lifestyle changes such as becoming more active at work and home can make a big difference to workplace health levels.

If your employees are looking after themselves well, they are more likely to meet targets and less likely to take time off due to illness.

Contact the team at occupational health providers, Medigold, today to find out how you can improve business productivity through staff health programmes.

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