Working in an office is everyday life for many Australians and potential clients. Mathew Aitchison, Personal Trainer and former Project Manager, working on office accommodation for the WA Government, provides some tips on how to get out of the chair and kick the sedentary habit.
In recent years you may have heard that the phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking,’ sounds scary, and like most headlines it is meant to shock you and grab your interest. The truth is, sitting in a chair, staring at a computer screen and typing for the majority of your waking day is not natural and can cause issues relating to your health.
The great thing is that the corporate world knows this, and is increasing initiatives to provide an environment for staff that limits sitting, promotes movement and in the end, can increase productivity. The key word here is MOVEMENT. Studies have shown while sitting all day is not great for your clients, neither is standing at your desk all day. The key to creating a workplace that promotes physical and mental well-being is movement.
If you said postural analysis, you guessed it! The first integral part of the process with a client who sits at a desk all day is assessing their posture. Think about the position that the human body is placed in by working at a desk. Regardless of the type of chair you are using, even if they do ‘guarantee’ a neutral spine, laziness from the client is a major contributor. Think about it, having your knees bent, feet may or may not be on the floor, arms sitting on the desk anterior to the rest of the body, and your neck looking at a screen, most probably not in alignment with your spine, cannot be doing you any good.
This is why taking the postural analysis of your client seriously is vital, and remember to factor in any abnormalities, and refer on to relevant medical professionals where required.
There are countless avenues for an office worker and their colleagues to take some small steps to make their lifestyle at work healthier. Here are TEN tips to pass on to your clients:
#1 Exercise with colleagues before work, at lunch or after work.
#2 Utilise other spaces in the office e.g. meeting rooms, local cafes, shared spaces, for activities that DON’Tneed to be done at the desk.
#3 Conduct walking meetings, especially for one on one chats
#4 Prep your food and eat regularly throughout the day, and NOT at your desk.
#5 Always have a drink bottle at your desk, use smaller bottles, so you have to get up and walk to refill it multiple times a day.
#6 Request an ergonomic assessment and set up for your workstation.
#7 Suggest healthy initiatives to your managers, for example lunch time yoga, or a massage therapist on site once a week.
#8 Use a laptop or tablet if available and work from multiple spots during the day.
#9 Don’t snack on bad foods
#10 Tell a colleague about your health and fitness focus, and get them on-board.
Depending on the size, any organisation serious about their business should take interest in the health of their employees and what they can do to assist. For new or existing offices, initiatives can be design or behaviour based, but the organisation should conduct due-diligence and invest time into ensuring the workplace promotes physical and mental well-being. This is an ever-evolving subject so the business should consult current information or engage a professional to work with them at the time.
As a Personal Trainer you need clients to make your business successful. Imagine the opportunities and networks opened by engaging just one large corporate client. You may want to conduct morning, lunchtime or evening boot camps for staff (the organisation might even fund it. Do you have an office-working client who can be trained at their place of work? Bring in a few colleagues and you have yourself a small group training sessions.
The business opportunities are endless and assisting one sedentary client out of their chair may just open those doors for you.