Exercise Stuck Sitting Behind a Desk? It’s Going to Kill You!

behind a desk

“Office workers must exercise for one hour a day to combat the deadly risk of modern working lifestyles.” — The Telegraph

“One hour of activity needed to offset harmful effects of sitting at a desk.” — The Guardian

“An hour’s walk can cancel out eight hours behind a desk, scientists say.” — The Daily Mail

These headlines have dominated the news this week, as a major Lancet Study has reported that research on more than a million office workers who spend their whole day sitting at a desk will increase the risk of premature death by 60%.  This study of both men and women discovered that those that sit at a desk for more than eight hours a day without taking exercise would be more likely to die of heart and artery disease or cancer.

The average TV viewing time in the UK is around 3 hours 6 minutes, therefore Professor Ulf Ekland of the Norwegian School of Sports Science and Cambridge University is urging office workers to do an hour of some activity. Even taking 5 minutes an hour to go and stand at the photocopier will help to decrease the risk.

This shocking new statistic has flooded the media and is now making office staff all over the World realise they need to get moving, and sooner rather than later.

We all know that getting away from the office can be tricky, with deadlines and meetings to adhere to, so here are our favourites:

I’ve listed some top ideas to keep you moving, remember it’s a suggested hour a day, so you can split this time up throughout your day to keep the doctor away:

1. Walking to work

I know, it’s not always possible to walk to work and I couldn’t do it, so adopt this scenario a few times a week:

  • Park a few streets away from your workplace and walk in 2-3km.
  • Stop a few stops on the train or bus and walk the remainder

2. Get out of your seat for 5 minutes out of each hour

  • Set a timer on your phone and complete a task away from your desk like collecting things from the printer, using the toilet, getting a drink or speaking to a colleague.

3. Use the stairs over the lift

  • If you have a lift in your building, don’t use it.

Yes, the stairs can seem a task but a task that will become easier. About 8 years ago, I had a job in an office that had 9 floors and I had to visit each floor 3 times a day to check it was secure, the first 3 weeks made using the stairs tough but soon I just whizzed up them, and made it a task to get to the top as quick as I could.

4. Lunch walks / public gyms / self-workout

Don’t stay in your office! Get the hell out of there. This is your time now, not work’s.

  • Eat your lunch on the go or go collect it from a local bakery / shop and enjoy a stroll around the town or local park.
  • Even better use the first half of your lunch break to workout and eat your lunch on the way back to the office. I don’t mean go breaking the bank with gym memberships or personal training sessions but turn your walk into a power walk, use free local park gym equipment or create your own drill using hills and stairs local to you.

5. Online workout apps

There are some great fitness apps out there, and they are generally free. I recommend an app called SWORKIT on iTunes.

Simply dictate your workout length and time and choose from yoga, HIIT, or full body workout and it will create a full demonstration on the phone for you. It’s free and a great fast time busting workout.

6. Go catch Pokemon

Seriously why not? I think this App is brilliant for those struggling to get out and about. Give it a go and let me know how you get on. I’m writing a blog on this at the moment.

 7. Don’t let your desk be the go-to place

  • Simple: remove items like your printer, stapler, water bottle, and folders and put them across the room.

This will encourage, and in fact, force you off your arse and go get it when you need it.

 8. Take your meetings on the go

I have clients that sometimes have meeting after meeting and sit for hours without moving. Look at these meetings, do they really all need to be in that stuffy meeting room or office?

  • Pick the meetings that are that little more flexible and take to the outside, walk to a coffee shop and get a takeaway coffee, then walk and talk.

9. Cycle to work

Most workplaces have a cycle to work scheme, ask your line manager and you could get up to 40% off a brand new bike that is fully tax deductible.

Now I used to work 49 miles away from work and it was not always possible, so I used to park 9 miles away and then ride in.

10. Do it as a team: A Step Counter Competition

Get everyone in your workplace to take part in a “Who’s done the most steps” competition. I am sure your boss will get on board, you can get so many free step counting apps or cheap pedometers now.

Create a board and at the end of the day, record everyone’s steps to create a leader board. Maybe have a monthly winner? I’ll leave that up to your imagination.


What do you think?