The adverse effects of sitting in an office environment from Monday to Friday have been well documented. It’s understood that the average person sits for 7.7 hours a day, and countless more exceed this average. Scientists have defined sitting as the new smoking, with research showing that people who sit for prolonged periods of time can increase their risk of diabetes or cardiovascular events. With this is mind, what can we do to counteract our modern sedentary lifestyles?

    

Exercise

Partaking in regular exercise can counteract the negative effects of sitting. If you go to the gym after work once a week, why not make it twice a week? If you don’t go at all, give yourself a target and aim to have a session either before or after work. In 2015 it was estimated that there was an increase of 44% in UK gym membership spending, which is largely due to the more flexible contracts that gyms now offer.

However, exercising doesn’t have to mean paying for a gym membership. Cycle to work rather than driving, or if you get the bus, try to walk the last two stops. Just an extra 20 minutes of exercise a day will equate to 1 hour and 40 minutes more physical activity each week. It will make a difference both now and in the long run.

    

Find your feet

The inescapable fact is that most office-based jobs require an employee to sit in front of a screen for long hours either side of lunch. Try to cut away at this sedentary time wherever possible. Instead of emailing your colleague, walk over to speak with them in the office. If you’re on the phone, try standing up instead of staying slumped in your chair. You may find yourself being more productive, as sitting is linked to loss of brainpower.

     

Social life

Monday to Friday can sometimes feel like a work bubble. In order to de-stress and take a step outside of the career zone, do something fun with friends and family during your spare time. Getting out of the house will keep you active and help to avoid the post-work slump in front of the TV or wasted hours glued to your smartphone.

       

Get cooking

The average UK worker spends over £2,500 on lunch and snacks in the workplace each year. This money could be the equivalent of 2-3 city breaks, or cover a large portion of your annual rent or mortgage. The social reasons for fast food are clear (it’s quick, easy and pretty tasty), but the health effects can’t be ignored. We realise that preparing individual homemade lunches to bring to work can be time-consuming, so try making a large one (such as a lasagne) on Sunday and allocate meals for the rest of week in the freezer. It’s a great way to control your portions, save money, and ensure that you’re getting a square meal in the middle of your demanding day of responsibilities. 

      

healthy lunch at work