The Telegraph reported at the end of last month that contemporary working life, which often involves sitting for up to eight hours a day, is seriously detrimental to our health. So much so that workers should exercise for at least an hour a day to offset its effects.
An entire hour spent exercising may sound both daunting and unfeasible for many those with busy work lives. But with more and more studies showing that office work is a health hazard - weight problems, heart disease and type-2 diabetes are just a few of the issues related to sitting for too long - perhaps we should all take heed.
If you are worried about the dangers of a sedentary life spent behind a desk, take a look at our four simple health tips that don’t even require a gym membership.
1.Cycle to work
Ditching the daily commute by car, bus or train and turning to a bike is great for two reasons – not only is it a healthy and environmentally friendly solution, it also helps to make exercise an unavoidable part of your daily routine. In fact, if your workplace is a 30-minute cycle away from your home, then you’ll have completed your entire day’s worth of exercise just by travelling to and from work.
For those who live in Central London or other urban areas suffering from heavy congestion, cycling can often be a faster route to work than motorized transport.
2.Walk to work
Of course, cycling to work isn’t always possible. For those who don’t own a bike or are concerned about taking to the roads, keeping to the pavement may be a more appealing option. If cycling isn’t for you, walking to work is another way of getting in some exercise – and reducing your carbon footprint.
Slipping on some comfortable shoes (you can keep your smart ones in your bag) and walking briskly to and from work also counts as part of your hour of exercise. Not only that, but walking can also be a lot less stressful than driving or taking the train – without road rage, traffic jams and packed trains, you’ll soon be feeling better inside and out.
3.Walk at work
Maybe you live too far away from your workplace to turn your commute into an opportunity for exercise. Fear not, because your workplace can actually double up as a gym. As you probably already know, taking frequent short breaks whilst you’re working is advisable – at least five minutes for every hour is recommended. Use this time to walk up and down some stairs or go outside so that your muscles are moving frequently throughout the day. Try and get up out of your chair as often as you can; even standing for a little while as you take a phone call, for example, can help to combat the effects of sitting down for too long.
4.Break it up
The modern working lifestyle means that the vast majority of our waking hours are now spent seated. Whether it’s eating, commuting or working in front of a computer, exercise can be hard to come by. And with millions of people working longer and later, there can be little spare time for making the gym.
If you struggle to make space for a two-hour cardio session, why not aim for more frequent but shorter bite-sized chunks of exercise. Try waking up half an hour earlier in the morning and taking a 15 minute jog; then take a brisk stroll for 15 minutes during your lunch hour; finally, a 30 minute exercise video before your evening meal can round things off nicely.
However you prefer to exercise, at the very least you should ensure that you set targets and form a routine that you can maintain week after week.