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Standing Up In The Office, Can Help You Lose Weight

Office workers can burn an extra 144 calories per day by standing rather than sitting at their desk, says a leading expert on exercise and health.

Applying his knowledge of human physiology, Dr John Buckley, from Chester University’s Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition, has calculated that working at a standing desk for three hours a day will burn eight pounds of human fat in the course of a year, with no change to your job or leisure time activities.

Dr Buckley, Reader of Applied Exercise Science in Health and lead Lecturer for the University’s MSc in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation, said:

“This is the perfect way for any office-bound worker to achieve the typical New Year’s resolution of wanting to lose half a stone without changing anything else – how easy is that?”

Dr Buckley’s work as a national leader in physical activity and exercise science has included being part of a special advisory group to England’s Chief Medical Officer.

At a key meeting he attended in Whitehall, issues of the workplace design, transport and the built environment, were designated as key culprits in the cause of obesity.

He added: “In the past 50 years, sports and exercise participation have remained at least the same, so it is sedentary behaviours such as sitting at a desk and nutrition which are the key factors causing the typical annual increase in most people’s waistlines.”

Sitting and standing, taking an occasional break and moving about, benefits the circulation, increases the supply of oxygen and reduces tiredness.

Dr Buckley says he always tries to make the effort to take the stairs to his office and encourages others to do the same wherever and whenever they can:

“It’s little changes in behaviour such as this, or standing at your desk, that can add up to make quite a big difference to your health,” he adds.

Wellness Linked To Job Satisfaction And Engagement

If you are engaged with your work, research suggests you’re most likely to have a healthier lifestyle.

The findings from Gallup Daily tracking found that engaged employees are deeply involved in and enthusiastic about their work, those not engaged may be satisfied, but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are less likely to put in discretionary effort.

And employees who are actively disengaged are emotionally disconnected from work and workplace and jeopardise their teams’ performance.

The research shows that how leaders manage their workers can significantly influence their employees’ engagement, which in turn affects a company’s bottom line and workers’ health and wellbeing.

Separate Gallup research found that engaged employees were 21% more likely than actively disengaged employees, to be involved in wellness programs offered by their company.

This finding is consistent across age, BMI groups (normal, overweight, and obese), and among people with or without chronic diseases.

Gallup’s employee engagement index is based on extensive research, carried out in the US, on actionable workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit.

The 12 questions included in the survey are intended to help sort workers into one of three categories: engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged.

Gallup research previously found that employee engagement is positively correlated with better health – and a positive correlation between employee engagement and healthy behaviours holds true, after controlling for respondents’ health conditions and key demographics, such as age, gender, race, income, education, and marital status.

Taken together, the data shows the link between being engaged at work and leading a healthy lifestyle. It is not clear though, which way the relationship between engagement in the workplace and healthy behaviours goes.

It is possible that workers without healthy lifestyles are more prone to illness, which then reduces their chance for being engaged at work, or that those who are actively disengaged are less likely to take part in healthy behaviours, perhaps due to time or a depressed outlook on life.

Regardless, since engaged employees are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, workplaces that actively improve engagement may end up seeing an added benefit of better employee health – the potential benefits of which include reducing sickness absence and increasing energy and productivity.

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