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Deskercise: 5 easy ways to add more activity to your workday (and prevent strains!)

So many of us have jobs that keep us sedentary throughout the day – the daily tube commute, sitting around conference tables, using our fingers to email instead of simply walking over to Keith in Accounts. Here at videoDoc, we know that more health risks are now associated with a lack of activity during the workday. Not only are you more likely to suffer with musculoskeletal problems, but excessive sitting may also slow metabolism and could even affect blood sugar levels. We’ve put together some easy-to-follow, simple tasks you can do throughout your day to stay active and to help prevent strains commonly picked up in the workplace.

1. Stand up for yourself

Something as simple as standing to break up the prolonged sitting that is often associated with office work will make a huge difference to your physicality. The British Journal of Sports Medicine published guidelines that suggest a minimum of 2 hours standing during the work day is best. The researchers found that incorporating standing (upright desks) and walking behaviour into the work day is even more doable for workers than targeted exercise.

2. Pilates

The stretching effect of practicing Pilates is proven to have benefits for strengthening muscles, easing stress and aiding flexibility. The focus is on the core and increasing awareness of how your body works. Of course, nobody is suggesting you do downward dog under your desk on your elevenses, but many companies are now realising the long-term benefits of introducing such classes during lunchtime for workers. Enquire with your managers if this is something your company might be interested in doing – your stiff muscles will thank you!

3. Redesign your surroundings

To combat excessive inactivity in a day, pinpoint some of the changes your colleagues and managers can make to boost energy in small ways throughout the day. Have an important brainstorm? Why not walk it out? Suggest introducing a pedometer program or using Pilates balls instead of office chairs. Sure, they will think you are a little ‘out there’, but once they see the evidence for the proliferation of sick days relating to sedentary lifestyle, they might think twice about banishing your giant ball.

4. Get access to remote physiotherapy

We know that the future is digital. Advances in healthcare mean we have instant access to some of the best medical advice and interventions all with the click of a button. Why not extend that to helping those niggly work-related injuries, repetitive strain injury or stiff backs? The videoDoc physiotherapy service now means you can access reactive and bespoke treatments from experienced physiotherapists on your phone or computer that focus on musculoskeletal medicine, ergonomics and occupational health. From an employer’s point of view, it makes perfect sense to promote health practices that lead to reduced absences and increased productivity. Employees too get access to comprehensive exercises and therapy in a highly convenient manner, all without having to leave the office! Win-win.

5. Walk your lunch

Some people like to power-walk on their lunchbreak, others cycle their commute or hit the gym after work. Whatever it might be, it is worth prioritising your daily exercise and try to build it into your work day. A study of more than one million people found that being physically active for at least an hour each day may actually eliminate the increased risk of death related to sitting for 8 hours a day. Those who make the time to engage in these physical activities are also much less likely to develop mental health problems, symptoms of burnout or depression than those who remain inactive.

Of course, it is easier said than done, but once you get into the habit of making small adjustments in your day, your body will thank you. Adjust your computer monitor so you are not slumped over it, keep your back straight if you are sitting for long periods and try to take the time to move around whenever you can, this will eliminate any stiffness or back pain you might experience due to the nature of office work. Remember, if you have injuries that need physio, seek help. VideoDoc Physio Service is only call away.

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