UKactive Chair Tanni Grey-Thompson appeared on international news network CNBC to urge the Government to tackle the ‘toxic’ toll of sedentary working cultures by incentivising employees to be active.
The legendary Paralympian and cross-bench peer noted that ‘physical inactivity costs the UK £20bn each year and is the cause of 37,000 premature deaths’ with desk-bound office culture fuelling the mounting inactivity crisis.
Statistics show that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day increases the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent and is a major cause of a myriad of health problems.
Interviewed on major American news channel CNBC’s mid-morning show, Tanni called on the government to do more to promote workplace physical activity by incentivising active pursuits such as gym passes, fitness equipment and accessories.
Increasingly busy schedules for workers mean it’s tougher than ever to maintain an active lifestyle. Physical inactivity is one of the biggest drivers of ill-health, leading to high absenteeism rates (which cost the UK £29bn a year) and reduced productivity – which all conspire to hit bottom lines.
Tanni also urged the public to try and ‘take on the responsibility to get active’, through small or incremental lifestyle changes. This could be as little as ‘getting off the bus one stop early’ she said, or simply ‘walking between meetings’.
Less time sat at a desk has superb long term health benefits. Standing is a highly effective low level form of activity. So a standing desk makes perfect sense.
Do your job, run your business and improve your health at the same time!
Today we spent the morning with Alex De Palma shooting the all new EIGER Pro Standing Desk in a white screen studio. It's a highly organised affair. Lighting, positioning and a detailed schedule of all the shots we need to showcase the product effectively.
We can't wait to see the results and get them on the website asap!
Your spine is practically begging you to stand. An upright position puts the discs in your lower back in proper alignment and minimizes the pressure they endure. Sitting, on the other hand, forces the vertebrae to crunch down onto each other and put a lot more force, increasing the risk of chronic lower back pain.
When you're sitting, your spine is compressing. In space, you get taller by 1-2 inches, and if you lay in bed, you'll also get taller, because your discs are expanding. But when astronauts return from space or people get out of bed, their vertebrae collapse onto each other and cause pain. This is also happening when you sit for a long period of time.
One big culprit of the pain from a compressed spine is the damage done to the cushioning between the discs.
The muscles have weakened and the vertebrae start collapsing, squeezing the padding and nerves between the discs. This is a huge source of pain.
So less time in the chair and using a standing desk has major benefits for the long term health of your spine.
Ask anyone who has permanent back issues what they’d do to solve them. We guarantee you they’ll reply….anything!
Don’t wait for it to happen before you do anything. Get out of the chair and get standing now!
There is no louder wake up call than hitting middle age. Turning 40 is when most of us begin to question our mortality and take stock of our sedentary, desk-bound lives – and with good reason. In our fourth decade we put on weight more easily, get bigger hangovers, take longer to get fit and recover from injury more slowly. This is when we begin to listen to our bodies and try to avoid the things we know to be bad for us.
If you’re one of those who’ve spent the past decades sitting in front of a workplace computer and in the evening on the sofa drinking wine, you can change. If we live more healthily and exercise regularly, we can enjoy a longer fuller life. Disease is often a problem in our 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. We can do much to prevent it during our 40s.
We can’t slow the aging process, but we can adopt more every day healthy habits and now is the time.
Eat healthy. Walk more. Take the stairs. Lose the chair and get a standing desk. These are just some of the ways to a healthier and happier life.
Aileen Flynn is clinical specialist physiotherapist in musculoskeletal care at the the Beacon Hospital, Sandyford, Dublin. She is also a triathlete. She recently wrote this article for The Irish Times...
Modern life has resulted in many of us adapting to a sedentary lifestyle. If you are desk-bound at work and sit on your journey to and from it, you likely fall into this category.
Sitting, which has been dubbed “the new smoking”, comes with its own risks. It increases load on the spine and discs resulting in slouching, or the loss in the natural curve of the spine. Over time this can cause changes in muscle length and affect the strength and performance of the postural muscles in the spine and shoulders. In turn, this can result in pain and predisposition to injury. Muscles are healthiest when used, so it is no surprise that staying seated for eight or nine hours a day has negative repercussions.
As a chartered physiotherapist, I see many people with postural-related neck and back pain, namely aches and pains that can develop related to sitting, whether it be at a desk or driving. Many of these physical problems can be treated with physiotherapy to relieve the pain in the short-term.
The long-term solution includes advice on correcting posture and finding a solution for sitting or standing in a more efficient way that reduces load on the spine and prevents reoccurrence.
For those who sit at a desk and experience (or would simply like to prevent) neck and back pain, I recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, stand up and focus on a point 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Even this short break will allow your spine to experience some relief and reduced load. It will also allow the small muscles of your eyes to rest, as well as the muscles around your shoulders and neck.
Circling your shoulders, turning your head gently from side to side, and reaching both arms up overhead are other good ways to reduce the negative effects of sitting. Standing desks are also becoming common in the UK workplace, and something I recommend quite regularly for clients.
Health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle include increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and depression. The evidence is strong that these risks are greatly reduced by engaging in an active lifestyle.
Active individuals are less likely to have a hip or spinal fracture, and they exhibit higher levels of cardiovascular and muscular fitness. They are also more likely to achieve weight maintenance and have a healthier body mass and composition than sedentary individuals.
Exercising and standing can help reverse the negative effects associated with sitting. The World Health Organisation recommends that 18- to 64-year-olds do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week. Alternatively, they can opt for at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
Activity can be easily integrated into daily routines. It should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes and can include transportation, occupational, housework or sports activities.
Edinburgh University recently released information that had some astounding content...middle-aged male office workers spend more time sitting down than pensioners.
Their study found 45 to 54-year-old men spend on average 7.8 hours per weekday sitting down, compared to 7.4 hours for men aged over-75.
Sedentary work is the main reason for the inactivity, with sedentary time (ST) defined as time spent in any waking activity done while sitting or reclined, including working, eating, reading, watching TV or spending time on a computer.
Experts are calling for action to tackle high levels of ST, which has been linked to health risks including cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes. High levels of sedentary time - more than seven hours a day - increases the risk of an early death, cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes and some cancers, even if people are physically active at other times of the day.
Lead researcher Tessa Strain said: "Large parts of the population are dangerously sedentary, something we have underestimated. We need to tackle high levels of sedentary time in early and middle age, when patterns may develop. Our findings suggest that changing habits in the workplace could be an appropriate place to start, given how much time we spend sitting there every day."
A recent review by other researchers found "tentative evidence" to suggest sit-stand desks could reduce work sedentary time, at least in the short term.
Today we dropped off 3 standing desks (a BigJack Manual, a MiniJack and an EIGER Laptop) for a 6 week trial at one of Manchester's largest councils.
The UK workplace is definitely starting to understand the negatives of sedentary behaviour and how standing desks are a significant part of the solution to improve health and well-being.
"We're being asked more and more for solutions around active working and are delighted to trial this range of standing desk solutions" said the Health and Wellbeing Manager.
We'll keep you updated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America recommend that adults engage in at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week. The CDC also reports that only 1 in 5 adults get this much physical activity. People who do not get the exercise they need are more likely to die prematurely or develop a range of serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some forms of cancer.
Not only do adults not get enough exercise, but teenagers are even worse!
Fewer than 3 in 10 high school students get a minimum of 60 minutes of daily physical activity, which is the level of exercise recommended by both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Teenagers are at the highest risk of being physically inactive, and in their late teens, this group was likely to get as little exercise as 60 year olds.
Prof. Vadim Zipunnikov commented…"Activity levels at the end of adolescence are alarmingly low, and by age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds. For school-age children, the primary window for activity was the afternoon between 2 and 6 p.m. So the big question is how do we modify daily schedules, in schools for example, to be more conducive to increasing physical activity?"
And that’s where we come in. Getting the UK’s children active whilst learning in the classroom using standing desks makes total sense. It both improves both activity levels and brain function. Vitally, it creates a positive habit that is taken into adult life.
Simple way to beat off arthritis: Balanced diet and exercise can help to overcome an awful and painful condition.
Research suggests simple changes like moving more and eating the right food could be the key to tackling the painful condition that affects 10 million UK adults. Some 8.5 million sufferers have the most common form osteoarthritis – which is caused by wear and tear on joints.
For decades it was thought to simply be part of growing old but now research suggests cases of arthritis could be rocketing because of chronically unhealthy lifestyles
Chronic diseases all have an inflammatory component and this seems to be driven by our sedentary lifestyles. Humans in modern day life move less and our diets have changed – we are basically sitting on multiple health time bombs. The answer is to eat well, control weight and move more. Joints need regular movement to work properly.
Arthritis causes stiffness, swelling, and tenderness when joints are moved – generally in the knees, hips and hands. It typically affects people over the age of 40 and was previously thought to be due to muscles weakening and the body being less able to heal itself, or the joints slowly wearing out over time.
But the major review found the onset of the incurable condition is not inevitable.
The search for new ways of treating debilitating complaints comes after research showed nearly half of all British adults now live with chronic back pain or arthritis.
It’s this simple. Eat well. Move more. Walk. Stairs. Standing Desks.
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson doesn't need much introducing as one of the UK's most famous and successful paralympians. She is now at the head of UK Active. Prior to the recent UK elections she wrote about her manifesto to get Britain more active. This is what she said...
Thursday sees people across the UK, some for the first time, put pen to paper on ballot papers in pursuit of a brighter future. Many of the challenges we must overcome to achieve this – a stretched NHS, an ageing society, divided communities, the economy and the impact of Brexit – have rightly featured heavily in this election campaign.
A sedentary lifestyle significantly increases risk of up to 20 conditions including heart disease, type-2 diabetes, cancers and mental health problems. But there is a golden thread which runs through each of them that we cannot afford to overlook: physical activity.
The miracle cure
Dubbed the “miracle cure” by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, physical activity has the power to transform our health, communities and our economy. The potential rewards of an Active Britain are huge. But if we fail to act now, the consequences will be disastrous.
Physical inactivity causes twice as many deaths as obesity and costs the UK economy an estimated £20 billion each year. Living a sedentary lifestyle significantly increases risk of up to 20 conditions including heart disease, type-2 diabetes, cancers and mental health problems.
If we want the NHS to survive and indeed thrive, we need a radical shift towards prevention over cure. For the NHS, tasked with finding billions in efficiency savings by 2020, around 70 per cent of its budget is currently consumed by the treatment of long-term conditions such as the above.
Put simply, if we want the NHS to survive and indeed thrive, we need a radical shift towards prevention over cure. Our focus must switch from waiting to treat illness to proactively promoting wellness.
Our children are less active than ever
The obvious place to start is with young people. Today’s children are the least active ever and we need a serious shake-up of the school day if we are to save Generation Inactive from a lifetime of ill-health.
It’s not just a case of buying more bats and balls for the PE cupboard, we have to embrace creative solutions. That’s why there should be a commitment to the regular measurement of children’s activity levels – as we do with all other subjects – to measure progress and ensure that those children falling behind receive extra support.
We know healthy habits are heard-earned and easily lost, so why not roll out active mile schemes across the country, as a sure-fire way to ensure children are moving every day? And better still, let’s use money from the sugar tax to open up schools as summer camps so that all children – particularly the most deprived – have access to free activity sessions and healthy meals.
Giving our children an active start in life is essential, but how do we help maintain active lifestyles once they’re out of the playground and into the workplace?
The toxic toll of sedentary office culture is wreaking havoc on our workers’ health. Many workers struggle to fit exercise into their busy days, leading to higher rates of absenteeism (which costs the UK £29bn a year) and reduced productivity across the workforce. Now is the perfect time to spark a sea change with some sensible policies to boost both bottom lines and the wellbeing of our workforce.
Why not support businesses (and not just the big ones) by making it easier for them to offer employee benefits such as gym memberships? The Treasury could broaden the hugely successful cycle to work salary sacrifice scheme – estimated to have saved £5.1bn through health benefits accrued through participation – to encompass gym passes, fitness products and accessories.
It goes without saying that active schools and workplaces will bring huge physical and mental health benefits, but it’s the societal impact of physical activity which is often overlooked. By putting physical activity at the heart of community infrastructure, we can empower all sections of society to lead more active lifestyles.
Whatever choice each of us makes on Thursday for who should lead Britain over the next five years, one thing is clear. In order to build a happier, healthier and wealthier nation, we must strive to make physical activity the natural choice for all aspects of life.