Studies have shown that sitting down during long periods of time is harmful to our health. Some even dare say that “sitting is the new smoking”. On top of that, there is no way to undo these negative consequences, not even by exercising vigorously in our free time, contrary to popular belief. Unfortunately, you’re bound to sit down too much in most corporate cultures, so it might seem that there are no easily available solutions to prevent the back, neck and shoulder complaints that are the end results of too much sitting.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg however. According to a study of Mayo Clinic, abnormal cholesterol levels, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and even an increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and cancer, are all linked to sitting too much. They found that those who watch over 4 hours of screen time a day, have a 50% increased risk of death from any cause and a 125% increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Securex is one of those companies who actually got the memo and they’re doing a lot of effort to get their employees away from their desks. By introducing ‘stairdays’ for instance and motivating their employees to take at least 10 000 steps a day. Simple things, like taking the printer away from their desks and asking them to stand up while making phone calls, help a great deal in this matter. Other organizations, like Allianz, Adecco and ABN AMRO, are on the same page and have come up with tailor-made programs to incentivize their employees to live a healthy lifestyle.
So how can you combat the negative effects of sitting down too much? It’s always a good idea to start small. “Standing up for just half an hour a day, burns up to 50% more calories than if you were to sit your entire working day”, says Erik Gerritsen, Health & Safety Manager at Securex, in a Dutch interview on Jobat.
That gives you the ideal timeframe to organize a daily or weekly stand-up meeting, in which you discuss what you did, what you’re going to do and which obstacles might be in your way. We’ve been trying this one ourselves and it really does work! Not only does it noticeably improve the general health of the team members, but their productivity as well! As an added bonus, standing up keeps meetings short.
Walking meetings are even better –especially for smaller teams. On top of the exercise and fresh air, you’ll get tons of inspiration from being in an environment other than your desk. If you’re looking to improve the health of your coworkers, but don’t know where to get started, we’re happy to help. From standardized modules like Hercules Academy’s Back UP adapted to your needs, to entirely custom made programs for your company, we’ve got what you’re looking for. Feel free to contact us!