Do office workers need health and fitness tips

British office workers spend a massive five years of their lives sitting at their office desk without standing up, research by Sanlam Private Investments has revealed.

Office workers said they spend 55% of their working day sitting down, with 60% admitting that they do not even get up for their lunch break but instead eat at their desks. A lot of respondents to the research (30%) said they skip breakfast, which could see them loading up on caffeine and sugary drinks until lunchtime.

This reveals that when employers are considering how to improve the health and safety of their workforce, they may wish to consider how to encourage staff to stand up a bit more regularly, such as by implanting standing desks or employee fitness programmes.

The health effects of a sedentary lifestyle are not simply isolated to the working days of office workers, either. When British workers get home from a day in the office, 47% said they exercise for less than one hour every week, with 24% saying they do not fit any exercise into their working day at all.  Around half of these workers blamed work for their lack of at-home exercise, citing factors such as exhaustion after the working day or time constraints.

Overall, 52% of British office workers said they are worried about their weight, with 53% worrying about their health and 30% worrying about their high stress levels.  Only 31% are the right weight for their height, indicating that these concerns may be well-placed.

To promote employee health and safety in offices, Sanlam Private Investments collaborated with Saracens Rugby Club to develop a guide to fitness within offices. Employers could use this guide to improve their workplace health and safety provisions, going beyond their requirements under health and safety law and UK employment law and taking a real active interest in the wellbeing of their employees.

Senior Strength and Conditioning Coach for the sports team Andy Edwards explained that the guide should enable even the most desk-bound worker to do some exercises. The guide includes a number of 15-minute and 30-minutre workouts that can be easily performed in offices, alongside some additional exercises better suited to the weekend.

Mr Edwards said that people can achieve quite a lot by exercising in a concentrated 15 minute period, and that people will “feel the difference” if they commit to working out on a daily basis.

Saracen Nutritionist George Morgan highlighted the importance of healthy eating by providing a range of handy meal ideas for pressured office workers. These include a number of healthy and fast breakfasts, as well as snack and packed lunch suggestions.

Health and safety provisions can provide a range of benefits to employers. Fit and healthy workers who feel their employer cares about them will be less likely to take time off than other workers, will be more likely to remain in the same position for longer, and will be happier and more productive. Employers that go beyond the call of duty by following health and safety laws and promoting workplace exercise may realise this provides far greater advantages than they expected.

Carol Smith is a writer and consultant with more than 25 years of experience working with personal injury solicitors Preston across many lines. She currently writes about road traffic accident and personal injury compensation claims.

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