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4 ways to help implement a healthier lifestyle at work!

Be more active at work…

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just stop at home. Did you know that sitting at your desk all day at work can actually be bad for your health?

Whether you’re commuting to and from work or just sat at your desk for long periods of time, it is not uncommon to spend the majority of your working day ‘sitting’. NHS Choices * state that the majority of adults will spend more than seven hours a day sat down which often increases with age to around 10 hours a day. That’s nearly half of your day literally spent sitting! The Huffington Post** reported that we spend the equivalent of around five years of our lives sat at our desks without getting up. This type of behaviour can be detrimental to your health, as research has shown that “people who are sat down for long periods of time were often found to have higher rates of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and death from all causes.” (British Heart Foundation***)

So what can I do to avoid ‘sitting’ down at work?

NHS Choices* advises that adults aged between 19 and 64 can try the following in order to avoid sitting down at work or when commuting.

1. When using public transport try standing up rather than sitting down.

2. Avoid using the lift, although it can be tempting why not try using the stairs or walk up the escalator rather than just standing? 

3. Take a walk break every time you get up to make a coffee or tea.

4. Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling.

As a result of spending prolonged periods of time sitting you may find that you suffer from the following symptoms (Business Insider****):

- Compromised posture – Sitting for long periods of time can cause the pelvis to rotate backwards which puts pressure on the lumbar discs. This pressure can then force your head forwards and in turn can cause your shoulders to curve to compensate for the transfer of weight.

- Back and spinal injuries – Prolonged, static loading of tissues over time from sitting down can put undue pressure on your lower back which then can cause stress to the surrounding muscles and joints.  

- Chronic pain – Inadequate sitting postures that are associated with long periods of sitting at a desk can provoke excessive increases of lower back pressure. These types of pains can be the symptoms of chronic diseases.   

- Rheumatic disorders – Some rheumatic diseases like osteoarthritis are the result of ‘wear and tear’ to the joints which can be caused by excessive sitting down.

Worried about the layout of your workstation and the possible conditions that can come with sitting for too long or incorrectly at your desk?

According to the Guardian, “every employer is obliged to provide employees with a desk assessment or training on how to set up their workstations to suit individual needs. If you haven't been offered this training, which usually only takes an hour, ask your manager to arrange it for you. Small companies without occupational health departments can arrange for a specialist to visit.”

If you are worried about the various symptoms that you may suffer from as a result of sitting down for long periods of time you may be interested in our ‘Therapies’ option which is an optional part of our ‘Health For You’ policy.

With our therapies option (subject to eligibility) we will look to cover you for the following:

- Any Out-patient treatments by a physiotherapist, osteopath and chiropractor at a combined limit of £500 a year.

- Sessions are limited to ten a year when referred by your GP.

- Further sessions are available when referred by your specialist, as long as these have been agreed by us first.

- Any claims you do make under this option will not affect your no claims discount.

Visit our health insurance cover options page to find out what else we can look to cover.

Sources:

* http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness/pages/sitting-and-sedentary-behaviour-are-bad-for-your-health.aspx

**http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/01/23/the-amount-of-time-spent-at-your-desk_n_4645029.html   

***https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/activity/sitting-down

****http://www.businessinsider.com/14-horrible-things-that-can-happen-if-you-sit-at-your-desk-for-too-long-2014-3?IR=T

***** http://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/nov/24/work-rsi-desk-assessment

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