The Evidence

An Exercise Regimen Everyone Can Squeeze In

The following article was written by Emmanuel Stamatakis and published in The Conversation on the 21st February 2019. Have you recently carried heavy shopping bags up a few flights of stairs? Or run the last 100 metres to the station to catch your train? If you have, you may have unknowingly been doing a style of exercise called high-intensity incidental physical activity. Our paper, published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, shows this type of regular, incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing is likely to produce health benefits, even if you do it in 30-second bursts, spread over the day. In fact, incorporating more high intensity activity into our daily routines – whether that’s by vacuuming the carpet with vigour or walking uphill to buy your lunch – could be the key to helping all of us get some high quality exercise each day. And that includes people who are overweight and unfit. What is high intensity exercise? Until recently, most health authorities prescribed activity lasting for at least ten continuous minutes, although there was no credible scientific evidence behind this. This recommendation was recently refuted by the 2018 US Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Report. The new…

Six Strategies For Sitting Less

Six Strategies for Sitting Less Scratching your head on how your team can BeUpstanding? A recent study by Hadcraft and colleagues and published in the journal BMC Public Health, explored office workers attitudes around reducing workplace sitting. They also sought out workers opinions on a variety of strategies aimed at reducing occupational sitting, which were commonly identified from previous workplace interventions, and their perceived barriers to achieving this in the workplace.  A number of strategies were viewed as acceptable and likely to be adopted by workers with some of the strategies addressing multiple influences on sitting and catering to a range of different jobs and preferences.  Why not give some of the strategies a try in your workplace! Make use of standing meeting. Sick of sitting through endless meetings? Look to change it up by changing your posture. A standing meeting can be used for a quick check in with the team, while putting stand and stretch breaks into the agenda can help your team reset and refocus. Why not step it up by having a walking meeting for those one-on-one catch ups! Communicating face-to-face. Whenever there’s a short message to be conveyed to a co-worker, employees can tell the…

What Makes A Good Champion?

Are you interested in becoming a workplace champion? Maybe you are looking for someone to assume this role in your workplace but you are unsure where to start. You might ask yourself what makes a ‘good’ workplace champion? Previous research suggests that the most effective workplace champions are those who have a genuine passion for health and wellbeing and are enthusiastic about the opportunity to inspire others towards a healthier lifestyle (Healy et al., 2018). They must also be committed to making long-term positive health changes in their workplace and display a good relationship with their peers. It could be someone that has, or is eager to gain, some experience in managing similar projects. Health and safety representatives are often chosen for this position because it coincides with their goals, namely to create a safer, healthier workplace. However, we must also consider the individual’s capacity to adopt this role. Do they have the time and resources to engage fully with the program within the confines of their own job? Or will it fall into their periphery? These are just a few of the things that must be considered before electing a workplace champion. More general personality traits like outgoingness and…

You should stand in meetings – don’t worry about what others might think

The following article, written by Benjamin Gardner, Lee Smith, and Louise Mansfield, was originally published in The Conversation on July 2, 2018. Standing in meetings may be good for our health, but it can also make those that are standing feel self-conscious, anxious about how others perceive them, and disengaged from the meeting. These findings, taken from our recent study, suggest that efforts to encourage office workers to sit less and move more must acknowledge the realities of the workplace that conspire to keep people chained to their seats. Sitting has been linked to adverse health outcomes, including increased risk of obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and poorer mental health. While some evidence suggests that the harms of sitting can be offset by at least one daily hour of moderate physical activity, this seems an unrealistic target. Most of the UK population fails to meet physical activity recommendations and spends prolonged periods sitting. Office workers, who make up half of the UK workforce, are particularly inactive. Our 2015 study of 164 London workers found that, on workdays, they sat for 10.5 hours of the 16 hours they spent awake. Breaking up sitting frequently with periods of standing and associated light activity can have important health…

Quick Tip – Water Bottle Replacement

Are you looking for ways to move more at work? Here’s one of our favourite tips to get you out of your seat and onto your feet. Replace your water bottle with a glass! This simple strategy forces you to stand up and walk to fill your glass every time it is empty. In addition, this is helpful because it helps remind you to drink enough water which is also important for your health. The most sustainable strategies are sometimes ones that will easily become part of your daily routine. An empty glass on your desk is a subtle reminder to stand up often. We hope this simple tip will have you up and moving about without even thinking about it. Happy moving!

Office Design Impacts Employee Wellbeing

Research shows that in order to create sustainable behaviour change in desk based workers it is important to target individual behaviour, the physical environment, and organisational components. An article in The Conversation by Libby Sander recently highlighted impact of office design on employee wellbeing. Creating an environment which encourages employees to make healthy lifestyle choices can help instigate sustainable behaviour change. Although it may not be feasible for all businesses to invest in massive office redesigns or luxury items such as sleep pods or stairway relocation, the good news is that there are simple and cost effective changes that most businesses can make. These include centralising frequently used office materials, such as printers, recycling, rubbish bins, and mail collection. This small change in location will create more movement in workers’ days by default. Company-wide investment in sit-stand desks may not be feasible for some companies. If there are some resources available, prioritisation should go to those in highest need (i.e., those with less flexibility in their job tasks to be able to leave their desk). Long-term planning may help the organisation allocate a budget for non height adjustable desks to be replaced with sit-stand desks in the future. Full height-adjustable desks (i.e., the whole desk moves…

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