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UK businesses are failing health needs of their office-based staff

Posted on 16th May 2017 by

Workers appeal to bosses to take action that will help them lead healthier working lives

The vast majority of office-based workers are aware of the health dangers of spending hours on end seated at their desks, but management is failing to respond to their needs, according to a survey to mark On Your Feet Britain day on Friday April 28.

Less than a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour at work but not bothered, or were simply unaware of the issue.

In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.

On Your Feet Britain, now in its third year, is a free event run by the Get Britain Standing campaign in association with Active Working, a community interest company. More than 2,500 businesses have signed up to On Your Feet Britain, encouraging millions of staff members to participate in a variety of fun and simple activities in their workplace to allow them to #sitless and #movemore.

Growing scientific evidence indicates that sitting for more than four hours each day (however active a Active working goPhysioperson you are outside the workplace) leads to multiple health risks (including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and mental health problems).

More than three-quarters of respondents to the survey, of 250 business organisations across the UK, wanted to see clear leadership, encouragement and better education on active working solutions, 38% believed a complete culture change was necessary, and 34% wanted access to adjustable desks.

Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

Almost 60% of co-workers questioned said they spend six or more hours a day seated during a typical office day and almost 90% spend upwards of five hours a day sitting down.

This despite more than 75% of office workers who replied to the survey confirming that they were ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged or excessive sitting. A further 20% said they were ‘somewhat aware’ of the dangers of the ‘sitting disease’ but wanted to know more. Fewer than 5% were either unaware or simply not that bothered.

Almost a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour but not bothered or were simply unaware of the issue. Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.

The average UK office worker sits 10 hours each day, with almost 70% of sitting taking place at work and 73 % only leaving their desk for toilet or tea breaks. Studies indicate that ongoing inactive behaviour is a risk for ALL employees, however fit and active they are outside the workplace.

“Employees across the country need to start asking for more activity in the workplace. No employee should be expected to sit for excessive or prolonged periods, like battery hens” says Gavin Bradley, Founding Director of Active Working. “On Your Feet Day is the perfect way to start experiencing the wellness and productivity benefits of sitting less and moving more. We are thrilled to see so many companies getting involved and engaged. We are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of breaking up and reducing sitting time.”

On Your Feet Britain is a day when workers are encouraged to give their health a boost, converting sitting time to standing time by taking some simple actions. For example:

  •   Stand during phone calls
  •   Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
  •   Use the stairs rather than the lift
  •   Have standing or walking meetings
  •   Eat your lunch away from your desk
  •   Walk to your colleague’s desk instead of phoning or emailing them
  •   Stand at the back of the room during presentations

About Get Britain Standing:

Get Britain Standing is a dynamic campaign (operated by Active Working CIC) to increase awareness and education of the dangers of sedentary working and prolonged sitting time. We’re part of a multi-national campaign to promote #SitLess #MoveMore.

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about ‘Active Working’, come along to our free event on 5th July at 2.30pm. At this free seminar goPhysio’s Non-Clinical Director, Fiona, will share the latest findings and recommendations on being active in the workplace. With a focus on ‘Active Working’, Fiona will discuss the benefits, challenges and practicalities of changing workplace behaviours to encourage a healthier working life.

  • Find out more about the problem of sitting too much
  • Learn how you can be more active in the workplace
  • Learn more about why being active is so important to your health
  • Practical ideas to take to your workplace

Fiona will also be joined by one of goPhysio’s Physiotherapists, who will be on hand to answer any of your work or postural related issues, aches or pains. Book your free place here.

Read more

Active working tips – drink more water

Active working tips – desk exercises 

Active working tips – dress to impress

Looking after yourself working from home


 


Active Working Tips – Drink More Water

Posted on 26th April 2017 by

In addition to being encouraged to exercise or move more, increasing our fluid intake is another  simple way we are encouraged to help improve our health and wellbeing.

I recently came across these water bottles from HydrateM8. These bottles have graduated timings printed on them which allows users to monitor their water intake on a daily basis ensuring gradual and consistent levels of hydration. Recognising that there was no way I was drinking enough throughout the day, I invested in one.

I’m a sucker for targets and goals, (I’ve worn an activity tracker for years and love being measured!), so this water bottle has been great for me! I think I’ve gone from drinking about 500ml to 2 litres + a day!

The added bonus of increasing fluid intake throughout the day, is the resultant increase in trips to the loo. Subsequently, this means I’m getting up from my desk and moving more throughout the day! Win, win!

I have no choice but to take the stairs to the ladies, but if you have a choice or stairs or lift, or could walk to a toilet a little further away from your nearest one, this is another way to increase your activity. It may sound insignificant, but you’d be amazed how these little bursts of activity can add up over time!

You can purchase HydrateM8 bottles here.

#SitLess #MoveMore #DrinkMore


Active Working Tips – Dress to Impress?

Posted on 25th April 2017 by

Continuing our series of ‘Active Working’ blogs this week in the lead up to ‘On Your Feet Britain‘, our tip today is

Wear comfy clothes and footwear 

Research has shown that wearing comfortable clothes can actually help increase activity in the workplace. A stiff suit or high heels doesn’t encourage you to take the stairs or go for a walk at lunchtime!

Depending on your working environment or policy, a uniform or smart clothes may be essential. If so, it’s worth considering taking a change of shoes to encourage you to go for a walk at lunchtime or it may be possible to choose fabrics that are more comfortable, roomy, breathable or have some stretch in them. Think about investing in some great flats or funky chunky heels as a compromise.

Many offices now have a ‘dress down’ Friday – this is a great opportunity to get a bit more activity in the day, when you’re feeling more comfortable in what you’re wearing.


Active Working Tips – Easy Desk Exercises!

Posted on 24th April 2017 by

This Friday, Active Working are encouraging office workers to sit less and move more, with their initiative ‘On Your Feet Britain‘!

Every day this week, in the lead up to On Your Feet Britain, we will be sharing some top tips for you to try in your workplace.

Why sit less and move more?

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests excessive and prolonged sitting (irrespective of your level of physical activity) can lead to increased risks of:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes (T2)
  • Mental Health
  • Cancers
  • Backache
  • Thrombosis
  • Obesity
  • Muscle degeneration

So, today, here’s some simple exercises you can get up and do at your desk to break up your sitting time and re-energise your body! Don’t worry about your colleagues questioning what you’re doing, get them to join in too!

Wall Press Desk Exercise

Sit Stretch Desk Exercise

Leg Up desk exercise

Perfect Posture desk exercise

Chair twist desk exercise

Chest stretch desk exercise

You could even download the exercises as a screensaver at work here!

Read more……

Looking after yourself when working from home

On Your Feet Britain 2017

Is standing the new sitting?

#SitLess #MoveMore


On Your Feet Britain!

Posted on 21st April 2017 by

This time next week, On Your Feet Britain are challenging the nation to get On Your Feet. This is the third national day, when 1 million workers across Britain will be encouraged and challenged to sit less & move more.On Your Feet Britain

Awareness of the “Sitting Disease” has rocketed up in recent years. Standing desks are certainly becoming more commonplace, in fact our offices at goPhysio have 2 standing desk work stations.

Is it time your workplace joined in the fun event to take James Brown at his word?

Join 1 million office workers #SitLess and #MoveMore by signing up your workplace to this free event and see a different aspect of your colleagues.

Here’s some ideas to get you moving

  • Here’s a thought, instead of emailing the person opposite, do something revolutionary – walk over & talk face to face. It’s a good way to do business & it’ll do you good.
  • Ditch your usual lunch ‘al desko’ and take a stroll outside. You’ll get a spring in your step and feel better for it.
  • Make phone calls standing up. You’ll feel more confident and burn more calories than sitting.
  • Run a lunchtime fitness workshop, class or guided walk.
  • Add a walking meeting to your day.
  • Have 1 less chair at a meeting. With every change in the agenda item, move around and swap who stands.
  • Walk to work or get off the bus a few stops early.
  • Set a timer or reminder to break up prolonged periods of time on the computer to remind you to stand up & move about regularly.
  • Drink more water – you’ll have no choice but to get up regularly to visit the loo!

Why not take it on as an office challenge & free yourself from the office chair for the day. Find fun & easy ideas online to take part.

So Friday 28th April 2017 is your chance to get the ball rolling and encourage your employees and colleagues to take a stand. Team up with colleagues and see how much “sitting time” you can reduce on the day.

Sign up today at onyourfeet.org.uk

Read more: Is standing the new sitting?

#SitLess #MoveMore

Active Working 2017

 


Technology Pains

Posted on 23rd December 2016 by

With consumers set to shell out billions of pounds on gadgets such as smart phones, tablets and games consoles this this Christmas, how do you make sure your gift doesn’t turn into a pain in the neck?

Technology has revolutionised every aspect of modern life from how we communicate to how we do our shopping. However recent research has suggested we now spend as long as 5-8hours a day on our smart phones and tablets! These devices are designed mainly with portability in mind so many of us will be familiar with the stiff thumbs from tapping away on games consoles, the burning neck pain from looking down at your ipad for a couple hours and the achy back from curling up on your sofa with your laptop on your knees.

Here our top 3 tips to avoid these pains

  1. Limit technology time – set some simple boundaries like no gadgets at the dining table, switching off an hour before bed or no more than an hour at a time in front of a screen. Think about what you’re actually going online for – to complete a certain task or just as a distraction?
  2. Think about your posture – your head is the heaviest part of your body so looking down at a tablet for hours on end is sure to give you a sore neck. Instead try a laptop or tablet stand, ideally with an external keyboard to bring your screen up to eye level. For smart phones straighten your back and hold the phone higher.
  3. Stretch out after use – if you’ve over done it stretch out your neck muscles by gently rotating your head left and right and tilting it side to side several times, roll your shoulders and rotate your trunk left and right too. Use a heat pack or microwavable wheat bag to ease the tension and pain.

technology pain


5 Tips for Working at your laptop pain-free

Posted on 9th November 2016 by

Flexible working, working on the move, working from home and the advances in technology mean that more and more people use a laptop for their work. But ergonomically, laptops aren’t great for working on and overtime can cause issues.

So, here’s a few tips to help keep back, neck, shoulder and arm pain at bay.

  1. Use a laptop riser. There are multiple types available varying from small and inexpensive to large and more expensive. This will allow you to adjust your screen height to the correct level preventing back and neck pain.
  2. Get a separate keyboard. This will allow you to have your screen at the correct height without compromising on optimal keyboard level. A wireless keyboard is often a better option as it avoids being restrictive due to cables.
  3. Work at an adjustable desk allowing you to sit or stand. Recently, there have been desk risers released which sit on top of a normal desk, are height adjustable themselves and have separate spaces for both your keyboard and mouse, and laptop enabling correct posture when using all equipment.
  4. Posture – sitting and standing upright while looking straight ahead will reduce the risk of back and neck injuries which arise from prolonged periods of poor posture.
  5. Try using the keyboard and its shortcuts more than the tracker pad or mouse. This will reduce the risk of overuse injury to your shoulder and arm.

Lap top ergonomics


‘Shake Up September’ Workplace Challenge

Posted on 5th September 2016 by

Shake Up September Workplace Challenge

Companies and organisations across the UK are invited to take part in the ‘Workplace Challenge’ this month, in a campaign named ‘Shake Up September’. The aim of the programme is to promote sport, physical activity and health improvements across the UK’s workplaces.

With both the Olympics & Paralympics fresh in people’s minds, the Workplace Challenge aims to encourage employees to bring physical activity into the workplace by trying out as many Olympic or Paralympic sports as possible throughout this month.

Why get active in the workplace? 

We spend up to 60% of our waking hours at work and an estimated 40 per cent of people do not exercise enough, according to Public Health England. To help combat the issue, Workplace Challenge, seeks to inspire businesses and encourage workers to get active in and around the working day.

Inspired by Team GB, workers are being urged to sign up to Workplace Challenge for free and try at least five different sports throughout ‘Shake Up September’. The more activities they log via the Workplace Challenge website or mobile app, the more points they will earn for their workplace as they go for gold on a national challenge leaderboard – with prizes on offer for winning individuals and workplaces, plus spot prizes available for those who get active and get involved with the challenge.

County Sports Partnerships across England will also be running local events and activities, as well as offering a host of online offers with local businesses and National Governing Bodies covering a wide range of sports.

Research has shown that physical activity can boost morale, communication, lift team spirit, increase productivity and reduce the number of sickness absence days taken. From our point of view, being active in the workplace can really help prevent and minimise any work related injuries such as back pain, neck pain and overuse injuries or repetitive strains.

The site also has some great resources and ideas for helping encourage activity in the workplace, such as the Flexible Lunch Break Manifesto.

So, download your Sports Bingo card, sign up and get active!

#ShakeUp2016


Road Safety Week

Posted on 18th November 2015 by

The message this year is to drive less and live more.

Need to go the shop for a few bits for the tea. Do you really need the car or would it be as quick to walk? You’ll probably spend most of your journey looking for a parking space when you do eventually reach your destination.

Leaving the car at home for a day will only help improve the environment by reducing on toxins released from motor vehicles.

By taking the train or the bus to work, we can all make our roads safer. It would mean less traffic, speeding up the daily commute which I think we would all agree is a major benefit.

Walking and cycling also gives the extra benefit of stretching our legs and getting some regular exercise. Even a short walk from the bus-stop to our place of work is sufficient to raise the heart rate and improve circulation. This way we can build exercise into our daily routine without feeling the need to find more time in our already busy days to undertake formal exercise, like going to the gym.

So let’s try leaving the car at home for short journeys and walking or cycling instead. You might even feel better for it!


Is Standing the New Sitting? goPhysio Investigate

Posted on 19th September 2014 by

Standing desks are very common in the USA, but haven’t really caught on yet over here yet in a big way. Recent studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle is now one of the highest risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. Another study suggested that sitting for prolonged periods is as dangerous as smoking is for your health. So should we be standing more?


What are the benefits of standing?
• Better posture
• Reduced low back pain
• Reduced risk of serious health issues
• Reduced risk of obesity
• Higher productivity levels


Standing desks are exactly what they sound like – a higher level desk that allows you to stand whilst you are working. They come in all shapes and sizes – some are a fixed height, while others use hydraulics to switch between a standing and sitting desk. However, you don’t need to buy an expensive desk – a patient of mine has constructed his own with a section of worktop from Ikea!


There are some great, cost effective DIY standing desk ideas on Lifehacker & Ikea Hackers.

A couple of our patients now use standing desks. They have feedback that:
Pro’s
• More energy
• Increased productivity
• Reduced pain – low back and sciatic nerve irritation
• More active round the office

Con’s
• Can’t do all tasks standing
• Sore feet (he had to go out & buy new shoes!)
• Achey legs

If standing doesn’t appeal to you, there are still plenty of things that you can do to help improve your posture at work.

  • Research has shown getting up and standing just for 1-2 minutes every 20 minutes is beneficial. It allows the major back and leg muscles to contract, helping with blood flow. It also prompts the body to burn more calories, which is a nice bonus!
  • Using an ‘active’ chair could also be an option – saddle seats and gym balls make excellent chairs and encourage to sit in a much better posture.
  • Rearranging your desk layout can also help – make sure you aren’t over-reaching for your keyboard and mouse, that your screen is at the correct height and if you use a laptop, consider getting a docking station or stand to improve the angle.

Standing desks might not be for everyone, but the benefits of being more active are worth making the effort to spend at least some of your day up and moving!

We’d love to see your standing desks and hear your thoughts if you’re already using one – pop us an email with a photo and let us know how you’re getting on!