Seven ways to stay healthy while you're at your desk

Nina Edy
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Standing at work has its benefits (Source: Getty)

We’ve heard (and should know) that exercising is good for us, but with a tight work schedule which revolves around us spending eight hours a day at our desk, how can we keep up and prevent health risks?

A study by The Lancet into physical activity has found lack of exercise is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

People who sat for eight hours a day but were physically active had a much lower risk of death compared to people who sat for fewer hours a day, but were not physically active.

Here are a few tips to get you moving, should you be stuck at the office all day.

1. Stretch those legs

The study encouraged office workers to get at least an hour of physical activity, stating it is “the ideal, but if this is unmanageable, then at least doing some exercise each day can help reduce the risk.”

2. Take a lunch break

As tempting as it is to have a working lunch because of your workload, stepping out of the office for an hour could do you a world of good. A 2015 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports in suggested lunchtime walks “improved enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness at work”.

3. Take the stairs

Getting the lift or the escalators may seem an easier option, but according to the NHS “regularly taking the stairs is good for strong bones, cardiovascular fitness and weight management and also “has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses”. So don’t fear the stairs: they should be your new best friend.

4. Stand while using public transport

Instead of fighting fellow commuters to that last seat, why not opt to stand instead? The the benefits of standing can be just as effective as walking, it can help to increase your energy, blood flow as well as burn those unwanted calories.

An experiment carried out by the BBC, Dr John Buckley and a team of researchers from the University of Chester found that “If you stand for three hours a day for five days that's around 750 calories burnt”, the equivalent of running 10 marathons a year.

5. Work standing

Standing desks may be pretty popular at the moment - but even Winston Churchill realised standing while you work allows you to burn calories. A law in Denmark dictates that employers must offer their staff sit-stand desks - perhaps us Britons should follow suit.

6. Talk to your colleagues

As tempting as it is to send an quick email or pick up the phone, walking over to speak to your colleagues is much more beneficial in the long run.

7. Take supplements

A 2015 research by European Journal of Sport Science suggests Omega 3 fatty acids improve endurance by boosting muscle blood flow, which is great for cardiovascular health.

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