The Importance of Regular Exercise

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Many of us are less aware of the impact boosting our activity levels can have to our overall health. Research from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge highlights the importance of regular, daily exercise. The study collected information from 22,000 men and women aged 40 to 79 in 1993, and then again in 2004.

Participants in the study who were defined as active, those who did at least an hour of physical exercise daily or had a heavy manual or physical job, were around a third less likely to have died of all causes than those who had sedentary jobs and did no exercise in their free time.

How much exercise should we do in a day?

  • If your job is office-based you should aim for one extra hour of exercise each day.
  • If your job means you stand a lot or move around in a relatively small space, such as hairdressers, shop assistants or security guards, you should take an extra 30 minutes of exercise a day.
  • If your job is very active, such as plumbers, cleaners or construction workers, you’re probably already doing enough exercise at work.
  • Remember too, that you don’t need to do all that extra activity in one go – or start off with a whole hour. Begin with just 10 minutes a day and build up from there – after all some activity is better than none.

Exercise at Work

Follow these office exercise tips to lead a more active life:
  • Pull on your trainers and energise your mind and body at lunchtime with a brisk 30 minute power walk – you’ll burn 140 calories and can still pick up a low-cal sandwich on the way round. In a year you’ll lose up to 9lb!
  • Take a 45-minute stroll round the shops in your lunch break and burn 130 calories. It’s a great way to get some of those chores done like going to the bank or chemist or treating yourself to new clothes – and you’ll wave goodbye to around 8lb in a year.
  • Deliver internal messages in person rather than using e-mail or the phone. It can quickly add up to an extra 10 minutes of walking a day – enough to burn an extra 30 calories a day. It might not sound much but it’s an extra 2lb in a year for very little effort – and possibly some great office gossip!
  • Use the stairs as often a possible. Just going up and down an average flight of stairs 10 times a day can burn up to 75 calories a day – that’s equal to burning off almost 5lb of pure body fat every year!
  • Don’t let your work pile up on the printer. Take a trip to the machine every time you’ve printed a document. Just 5 trips a day amounts to an extra 30 calories – or 2lb a year.
  • Go to the post room yourself when there’s a delivery for you rather than asking someone else to do it. A daily trip can shift an extra 30 calories or 2lb in a year.
  • Get together with colleagues after work for a night on the town. Turn into disco divas on the dance floor and lose a massive 380 calories per hour. That’s 4lb a year for a weekly boogie – providing you stick to ‘diet’ drinks rather than Bacardi Breezers!

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