We all experience pressures on our time, including at work, and it is easy to let this get in the way of our health and wellbeing. In a recent Westfield Health survey, it was revealed that 55% of UK workers eat lunch at their desks and half of us only get up from our desks to go to the toilet during the whole working day. Westfield Health explores the benefits of walking and provides some tips for fitting a little more motion into your working day…
The physical benefits of walking are clear:
1. You can reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.
2. A brisk walk helps to boost your circulation and increase oxygen supply to all your cells, giving you great benefits such as more energy and even healthier looking skin.
3. Walking even boosts your immune system for 24 hours - who knew?
4. Physically active employees also take 27% less sick days than non-active employees, leaving them healthier the whole year round.
5. Walking is also great for getting some more Vitamin D. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient which is essential for important things such as bone health.
Walking has plenty of mental health benefits as well:
1. Being active promotes mental health and wellbeing. It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.
2. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed.
3. Physical activity stimulates the release of body chemicals called endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, reduce stress and produce feelings of wellbeing.
4. Walking improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease, which may be linked to helping you stave off dementia.
5. Scientists at Essex University found that our wellbeing is boosted significantly with as little as 5 minutes of outdoor exercise.
Westfield Health offers these top tips to help you fit in those extra steps during your working day:
1. Take the stairs: One of the easiest ways to add walking into your day is to avoid the lift and take the stairs. Did you know that you burn 3.5 calories per floor? Just another little reason to climb the stairs.
2. Send fewer emails: It’s easy to fire off emails when you’re in a rush, but why not try walking over to your colleagues’ desks instead? Take the time to ask them a question face to face and add in those precious few extra minutes walking as well. Bonus points if they work on another floor and you have to take the stairs to get there.
3. Take a phone call on foot: Next time you answer the phone, why not try making it a walk and talk?! Walking has even been proved to help creative thinking - researchers at Standford University have found that our creative output increases by an average of 60% when walking. So you can come up with some creative suggestions for those tricky questions.
4. Park further away: Add a short walk to your day by avoiding those front row spaces and parking towards the back of the car park. If you get public transport - try hopping of the bus one stop early.
5. Use the furthest away bathroom: For some of us a toilet break is the only chance we get to move away from our desk. But this toilet break provides an opportunity to get some more steps in; make the most of it by trying to use the bathroom furthest away from your desk - or even on another floor.
2 June 2016