The Office and Exercise

The Office and Exercise

A major study published in the UK medical journal, “The Lancet”, has found that office workers must

exercise for one hour a day to combat the heath risk of modern working lifestyles.  Research on

more than one million adults found that sitting for at least eight hours a day could

business and work

increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent. Researchers found that globally, more than 5 million deaths a year are linked to physical inactivity – a similar number to lives lost to smoking, and a higher figure than that caused by obesity.

Lead scientist Professor Ulf Ekelund, from Cambridge University and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, said: “We found that at least one hour of physical activity per day, for example

brisk walking or bike cycling, eliminates the association between sitting time and death.”


“You don’t need to do sport, you don’t need to go to the gym, it’s OK doing some brisk walking maybe in the morning, during your lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day but you need to do at least one hour,” he said.


A decent walk – at a speed of just over three miles an hour – was enough to achieve the benefit, he stressed.

Movement is the best medicine

These findings show that the current recommendations for adults (at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity) may be insufficient to to combat the dangers of eight hours sitting in the office.

Another study in the BMJ has highlighted the many benefits that any sort of physical activity can have on your health.


A team of American and Australian researchers analysed a series of studies published between 1980 and 2016 examining the associations between total physical activity and at least one of five chronic diseases – breast cancer, bowel (colon) cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

They found that a higher level of total weekly physical activity was associated with a lower risk of all five conditions.

Again, the researchers highlighted an important take away fact – this doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym; it can include being more physically active at work, engaging more in domestic activities such as housework and gardening, and/or engaging in active transportation such as walking and cycling.

How you can be more active at work:

– Get outside at lunchtime for a nice walk

– Use a standing desk

– Take a 5 minute break every hour to walk to the printer, to the next office or just to get a cup of water

– Take the stairs and leave the lift!

– Don’t use instant message all the time, walk over to your colleagues and have a face to face conversation.

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Liam Leech, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, MSc. ANutr.

Liam Leech

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, MSc. ANutr.

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