Physical activity is of crucial importance in a human life, especially if you spend most of the day by the office desk and your main means of transport is a car. The issue of so-called passive lifestyle is so severe, that WHO has devoted special attention to it for the past several years. The research done by WHO clearly shows that neglecting physical activity is a serious problem for Polish people. Out of 41 countries, Poland was ranked 32nd in terms of neglecting the physical exercises.
Why physical activity is so important? A number of technological solutions require less and less physical effort from a human. Slowly everyone gets used to going to work by their own car and to opening the gate and garage with a remote or a smartphone. However, such an approach may very quickly lead to a general decrease in vital energy.
Our level of physical activity has a direct impact on maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), which is one of the basic indicators of a human’s body capacity. VO2 max indicates the amount of oxygen used by a human organism within a minute. The better physical activity, the higher VO2 max limit. On the other hand, the lower the VO2 max, the more challenging is every physical activity for the organism. The decrease of VO2 max translates into a decrease in the general capacity of an organism.
People are born to be active. Sedentary lifestyle – work behind the desk, driving and lack of exercise – has a very negative impact on our bodies. – says Magdalena Kośmicka, a fitness instructor, permo.pl. Energy consumption drops, the body mass increases and diabetes may occur. It also interferes with the work of our digestive system. Sedentary lifestyle causes balance disorders, decline of physical condition and the strength of our muscles and leads to calcification of the bones, as well as to joints and spine pain. Lack of physical exercise considerably weakens our heart and lungs, what is associated with a circulatory insufficiency. All these factors contribute to the reduction of our living standard.
Taking care of an appropriate level of physical activity may cause some problems to people professionally active. Spending most of your time in the office, taking some work home or often business travels are not conducive to regular visits on the gym or even systematic exercises at home. The solution may be fitness in the office. Contrary to what may seem, doing some of the exercises possible at work. What is more, it doesn’t require much expenses or additional work breaks.
Some of the exercises might be done while you are working and focusing on other activities. No need to change your clothes, getting prepared or leaving your office – states Magdalena Kośmicka. Exercises in the ‘Aktywne biuro’ (Active office) program last max 20 minutes and concentrate on relaxing all segments of the spine. Most of the exercises are done while sitting at the desk. A workout which will relax the spine and joints, which so often pester people with sedentary work, takes just a few minutes. – she adds.
Exercises which can be easily done while working at the desk are called isometric exercises. In this type of training the muscles are actively tensed. Their main advantage is the fact that they are really easy to do and don’t require any additional equipment or space. To convince you that such exercises are right for the office, here is the description of one of them:
|An isometric exercise by Magdalena Kośmicka|
Sitting comfortably on an office seat or chair, tense your stomach muscles and raise your legs to the height of the chair seat / chair. Make sure that your legs are straight and tight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds. After loosening repeat the entire exercise 5 times.
The abovementioned example clearly shows that isometric exercises are not complicated at all and that they are perfect for the office. Doing such exercises may often go unnoticed by the co-workers. And a regular isometric training will allow for an appropriate level of physical activity during the day.
Emergence of the devices motivating to some activity in the office is a proof that lack of physical activity among the employees with sedentary work is a growing problem. An unusual stepper is one of such devices. While put under the desk and connected to the computer, it forces the person at the desk to exercise on the device. If there is a break in the exercises, the stepper automatically disconnects the computer mouse, what significantly hampers the work on a computer. Such a solution may seem unconventional, but its effectiveness and mobilization for physical activity at the desk are the most important.
The problem of a limited physical activity among the employees is more and more often noticed also by the employers. The popularity of some additional benefits, such as gym or pool admission cards is on the rise. Receiving a free monthly pass will certainly encourage the employee to visit sport centers on a more regular basis. It is also a considerable relief to the employee’s household budget.
Activity pays off
Employer’s interest in the level of physical activity of the employees may have a positive impact on the company’s results. Along with the rise of physical activity, the general capacity of a human organism also rises. This in turn directly translates into the effectiveness of the employee’s work.
From the point of view of an employer, the care for the physical activity of employees is a key aspect of employment. First of all, it’s a preventive action which will allow them to work long and efficiently – observes Magdalena Kośmicka. Active employee is an employee who is rarely ill and is more resistant to stress. Moreover, any employee who has an opportunity to be physically active during work or after it feels more appreciated and more linked with the company.