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Workplace wellness ideas: Build physical activity into your working day and cut the risks associated with sedentary work

Our daily routines are increasingly spent sat at a screen. We shop, bank and even socialise online.

Many of us sit during our commute, during the day at our desks and when we wind down during the evening. There is increasing evidence to show this type of sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health.

Being physically inactive leads to weight gain, high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels and increases your risk of serious illness.

A recent study estimates about a third of adults are not physically active enough and this lack of exercise is responsible for 5.3 million deaths a year worldwide. This equates to about one in 10 deaths from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer (breast and colon).

People in higher income countries are the least active, with those in the UK among the worst. The study suggests up to two-thirds of adults in the UK are not doing enough.

It’s essential that you move more and sit less during your working day to reduce the risk of serious illness. It doesn’t mean you have to invest time and money on expensive gym memberships; you just need to be more active at work every day.

It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

• up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

• up to a 50% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes

• up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer

• up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer

• a 30% lower risk of early death

• up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis

• up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture

• a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)

• up to a 30% lower risk of depression

• up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

You can exercise climbing stairs – it’s an ideal way to fit physical activity into your busy working day and promotes a healthy workplace. Taking the stairs rather than the lift and taking regular breaks to climb the stairs will help you lose weight and lower your risk of developing long-term health conditions. It will make you feel more energetic too.

You can find out more about the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, particularly for women here: