In the UK we’re recommended to exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes per week, this exercise can be moderate and include activities such as fast-walking, cycling, running, or swimming. So we have guidelines on how long we should be active but why don’t we have guidelines on how long we should be sedentary? Do we even need guidelines or should we be able to figure it out for ourselves?
When 4 out of 5 of the main causes of death in the UK have strong links to inactivity, there’s no doubt we should be taking a stronger stance on managing our inactivity. We’re going to look at the facts on inactivity and arm you with everything you need to know to combat this and stay healthy.
“Sedentary people have a higher risk of generating certain types of cancer”
This isn’t a myth, this is a fact based on a recent research that has linked being seated for a prolonged period of time with colon, endometrial and even lung cancer. Whether this is a direct effect from being sat down or an indirect results of possibly being indoors as well as slouched or snacking. This huge study conducted with over 4 millions individuals found the likelihood of developing one of the previously mentioned types of cancer increased when individuals were sat for longer periods of time and was not effected by being physically active in other parts of the day.
Tip: Walk any and every chance you get. Need to tell someone something and they’re at the other side of the office? Walk, don’t email. Lunch break? Walk, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Regular short breaks make a huge difference and a brisk walk can quickly refresh your body and your brain. Aim to stand or walk once every 30 minutes.
“Sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk of muscular injuries”
This one isn’t rocket science. Being perched in a set position for a prolonged period of time has an effect on your flexibility, if you sit with your muscle relaxed and hunched you can quickly decreased the range of movement at a joint. If you jump between a solid 8 hours sat at a desk to 45 minutes intense exercise be sure to warm up thoroughly and regularly work on your stretching and flexibility to help avoid injury.
Tip: Desk-ercise. There is so many exercise you can do at your desk and you’d be surprised how many additional calories you can burn each day just from a few simple exercises. Here are a few of our favourites:
Office Chair Leg Extensions – When sat on your office chair straighten your right leg and contract your quadriceps for 5 seconds. Switch leg. Repeat 12 x on each leg.
Office Chair Hamstring Curls – Sit straight on your chair keeping your back straight and pressed against the back rest. Curl your right leg back pulling from your towards your bum. Hold for 5 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat 12 x on each leg.
Office Chair Calf Raises – This one is very straight forward. Sit up on your chair with your back pushed against the back rest and feet flat on the floor. Lift both heels off the ground and contract your calf muscles for 5 second. Relax and drop your heels to the floor then repeat 12 times.
“Those who sit for the longest have highest chance of developing heart disease”
Heart disease is the UK’s leading killer taking nearly 26% of people lives in 2012! There have been numerous links between heart disease and inactivity which will likely continue to grow if and when we become increasingly inactive. One of the first and most basic studies into inactivity and heart diseases looked at how London bus drivers were twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack when compared to their more active, conductor colleagues. Sitting slows your metabolism where as staying active is vital in maintaining a healthy long life.
Tip: Exer-Walk. If you don’t have long to walk or exercise each day, combine the 2!
You don’t need to be an athlete or seriously dedicate to your fitness to enjoy a Pot O Gold. Our convenient and fast range of high protein meals only take a few minutes in the microwave which could help free up some needed lunch time for a brisk walk! We’ve recently launched our office sharer bundle as a price-effective way to give our Pots a try in your office!
Enjoy and stay active!