Did you know that sitting at your desk for extended periods a day can be worse for you than smoking?
But this doesn’t just apply to office workers who spend a lot of time at their desk, but also sitting watching the tv, or sitting driving your car.
In one study sitting for long periods was linked with an increased risk of a number of health concerns, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar- making you feel hungrier throughout the day, and therefore making you want to eat more, weight gain and abnormal cholesterol levels were also increased. There was also an increased risk from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
This is worrying considering most of us will spend a significant amount of time in front of the computer, watching tv and driving to work.
It is very common for employees within an organization to feel guilty about taking a lunch break…”The clients, come first”, some would say. But at what cost? surely your clients would be better served by you not being ill and enable you to be more productive after taking a break, and your employer would be better off since they would not be paying sick pay for you being off.
Bhatia Co-founder and CEO of the mobile video AD company ‘Vdopia’, recognized that he was becoming fatigued and wanted to do something to recharge. He set up his own program of ‘Boosts’. These boosts included taking daily breaks, walking meetings, taking lunch with a friend and a swim. Some weekend activities included hiking, and home activities such as cooking, allowing him to recharge when he had run out of juice.
Most people are given a lunch break, its just often they don’t use it, feeling overcome with the pressure of too much work, or wanting to get home earlier, or simply feeling guilty in some way that you are not as committed to your job if you leave your desk, are common reasons.
But lunch is a big opportunity for recharging your energy. Having diversions that take you away from work, enables your brain to recharge and relax to stop it from becoming depleted.
A study led by John Trougakos at the University of Toronto found that people who have breaks during the day had increased focus and resilience. He found that exercising during lunch was also effective.
Swedish researchers found that taking 2.5 hours per week for exercise during work hours increased productivity, even though they were doing 6.25 hours less per week.
Leaving your work at work and learning to switch off was also shown to help the brain recover and recharge.
Top Tips To Get Moving
Stand up at your desk
Start walking around your office
Take the stairs instead of the lift
Get some of your colleagues together and go for a stretch break
Have a break whilst driving, stop off for your lunch to break the day up
Go out and get some fresh air in your lunch break, and take a non-work book to switch off
Do some exercise in your lunch break, Pilates and Yoga are good options due to the relaxation element
If you work at home remember to get out of the house and walk a dog, or your friend’s dog
Introduce walking meetings to your workplace
Get moving on the weekend, go hiking, cycling, and find some time to relax and unwind
Try to learn to switch off from work when you get home, learn to meditate and spend 5-10 minutes a day doing it.
So next time you feel guilty about leaving your desk for you lunch, ‘DON’T’ not only are you doing your employer a favour, you are also doing yourself a favour, so take a break to recharge, relax and replenish your body and mind.
(If you would like to do Pilates in your lunch hour I teach 2 classes at Jersey Opera House, in St Helier, Jersey, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s 1.15-1.50pm, email Natasha@nrgizepilates.com, or see www.nrgizepilates.com for more details of my other classes).