Why sitting at work desks for long periods of time is not a good omen for long-term health and productivity
It is a given that most people who work in companies spend a large amount of time sitting at a desk and working at a computer – it’s unavoidable in this day and age.
But physical fitness in the workplace is a hot topic which can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.
But over the years since the desktop PC or laptop became the go-to resource for all busy executives, a bit of complacency has crept in when it comes to the effects prolonged use of said device in the same seated position may be having on all of our health.
The phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking’ has become the new mantra for highlighting the dangers of sitting down for too long without getting any form of exercise.
Now smoking has been fully outed and effectively banned from daily life, and smokers and non-smokers alike are benefiting from this development.
So the next phenomenon to become the new scourge of our lives is the computer desk, and the length of time we all spend sitting behind it – whether that’s in an office environment or at home.
And there is a clear correlation between the amount of people who work in sedentary jobs and some of our current health challenges relating to overweight, obesity, back problems, heart problems, depression, diabetes, and many other conditions.
Employers have a duty of care towards their employees, especially in these times where employment law is constantly changing, more legislation is coming onto the statute books, and employers’ responsibilities are becoming more wide-ranging.
This is a good thing, given the amount of time most of us spend at work. After all, having the responsibility for people and their wellness (or lack of it) day in day out is a serious business and should be treated as such.
Many people have become work obsessed and need to be forcibly peeled away from their computer screens – this is not good for health and productivity and should be discouraged by all employers.
Employees often feel as if they are trapped on an imaginary hamster wheel of work, whereby the more hours they slave over their desk, the more productive they will become, the more promotions they will win, and the more money they will earn.
This is far from the truth, and research data shown below gives a stark reminder of some of our current problems which are mounting up in the workplace – have a read and a good think about how you can bring changes into your workplace.
Statistics from the NHS website show that 4 out of 5 people of working age in the UK alone work at a desk, which equates to about 24 million people – and then if you factor in the rest of the world the numbers are into billions.
And the British Heart Foundation reveal that 59% of men and 54% of women in England in 2012 spent 5 or more hours in their working day sitting or standing still, and 13% of UK adults are sedentary for longer than 8.5 hours a day; in the Netherlands and Denmark the figure is 25%.
The UK analysis of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study found physical inactivity and low physical activity to be the fourth most important risk factor in the UK. They estimated that physical inactivity contributes to almost one in ten premature deaths (based on life expectancy estimates for world regions) from coronary heart disease (CHD) and one in six deaths from any cause.
The World Health Organisation have identified physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Physical inactivity levels are rising in many countries with major implications for the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the general health of the population worldwide.
You can also click on the link below for your free video download for more insights and information on how we can help.
And you can read another blog on this subject by clicking the link to physical fitness in the workplace - are companies aware?
Or go to our Workplace Schemes page for more details and to enquire.