Office Workers

Working in business and administration is categorised with long hours sitting in an office, often in front of a computer. A load of business focus more on getting money/saving money, such as by getting a cheaper energy provider (this is something that can be done through someone like Simply Switch), however, business’ should be more inclined to make sure that the health of their workers is good.

Office workers often spend much of their day sedentary and operating office equipment, and while these activities pose little harm when done for short periods of time, constantly performing these types of activities can have harmful effects on your health.

Common Issues

The biggest concern for those that work in business and administration sector (office workers) is the harmful effects of sitting for long periods of time. Australian statistics show that 68.5% of the workforce are either sedentary or have very low levels of activity. Essentially, we go to work and sit for eight hours and that fact is having serious effects on our health.

Sedentary occupations can lead to increased risk of injuries, overweight and obesity and over long periods of time, sedentary occupations can contribute to chronic diseases and early mortality.

Something that isn’t to do with exercise but is important to bring up because it is an important factor in an office workers health is that if you are staying in one place all day then that place will easily become unhygienic and increase chances of illness. To avoid this then it is important to sterilise the office environment regularly.

Other common risks faced by office workers are musculoskeletal disorders from repetitive use of the hands to operate computers, sort paper or use office equipment, and neck and back pain from prolonged sitting and increased sedentary time. These risks can be eliminated by employers buying good quality, adjustable chairs and desks. Special furniture like standing desks are becoming increasingly popular as the worker isn’t constantly sitting, leading to health issues.

Why is exercise so important?

Regular activity helps improve your overall health and fitness. It also reduces your risk for many chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

When people have a prolonged period of time living within a restricted range of motion (e.g. they sit, stand, walk and sleep for years on end, without taking their joints through a full range of motion) then problems arise, things like; poor ankle dorsiflexion, knee flexion, hip flexion/extension, thoracic extension, scapula retraction, arm flexion. It can turn into a vicious cycle where people aren’t moving because it hurts and it hurts because they aren’t moving.

Other research finds restricting sitting time to less than three hours each day might boost an adult’s life expectancy by an extra two years. Sit to stand desks are now common throughout office-based environments, however while they are very good at improving your standing time and reducing your time spent sitting, research now tells us that people outside of the office are now less active. So it’s important not to give up your physical activity after work!

Types of exercises recommended by your exercise professional

Making slight alterations to your individual work space can make a big difference.

For example, Exercise Right recommends the following:

  • Organise the layout of your office space in such a way that you have to stand up to reach oft-used files, the telephone, or your printer, rather than having everything within easy reach. Ideally, you’ll want to stand up at least once every 10 minutes, or more, so simply moving one or more things you frequently reach for could allow you to build this kind of movement into your regular work day.
  • Consider the purchase of a standing desk
  • Alternatively, use an upright wooden chair with no armrest, which will force you to sit up straight, and encourage shifting your body more frequently than a cushy office chair.

Exercise Right recommends

Get outside and active during your lunch break

For most office workers lunchtime is a built-in break during the day, and poses less risk of being derailed by things in the evening such as housework, last-minute dinner arrangements, or plain old fatigue after a long day at work.

Take a walk around the block, or take part in lunch time stretches/exercise sessions. A great way to relieve stress and use of your lunchbreak to help fit exercise into your busy schedule!

Like brushing your teeth before bed, your pre-lunch power walk will become second nature the more you do it.

Thrust it out

A big problem with all the sitting we do is that it shortens our hip flexors and shuts our glutes off, ultimately limiting our ability to perform hip extension. Even if you’re not sitting a lot, lengthened hip flexors and powerful glutes will do wonders for your ability to walk proficiently. Firing out some hip thrusts will help activate those glutes and lengthen tight and inhibiting hip flexors muscles.

Increase your incidental exercise, reduce your sedentary time

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Walk to the printer/fax/photocopier/rubbish bin
  • Talk face-to-face instead of email
  • Start incorporating standing and walking meetings to decrease sedentary behaviour
  • When sitting for long periods, set an alarm for 5 minutes every hour, to rise and move more. (Baker IDI App – rise and recharge is brilliant)
  • Walk during your morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea breaks
  • Park your car a couple of streets away from your office and walk the difference.

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