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Office workers have ‘no time’ to be healthy

Helen Mayson

New research from Bupa finds that more than a third (35%) of workers spend just an hour or less a week on exercise

Do you work a desk job? If so, you could be putting your health and wellbeing at risk by not spending enough time on exercise or relaxation activities like reading a book, doing a crossword or reading the paper, says new research from Age UK and Bupa.

The survey found that office workers were most squeezed for time, with over half (52%) admitting to spending no time at all on mental wellbeing activities like meditation, while just under a third (27%) make an effort to recognise the signs of stress and take action to deal with it.

Laurie Boult, Head of Fundraising at Age UK, said: “Research has shown that looking after our mental wellbeing is just as important as protecting our physical health when it comes to ageing. While genes have an effect, 75% of the factors that lead to longer life are within our own control, like lifestyle and nutrition3. Everyone can take steps to help them age better and it’s never too early or too late to start. That’s why we’re working with Bupa to empower people to lead a healthy life now and support older people to do the same.”

Desk-bound

The survey found that more than a third (35%) of people whose work is solely or mainly office based, spend just an hour or less on physical exercise per week, with nearly one in ten admitting (9%) they do no exercise at all. However, some office based staff are trying to find ways to incorporate health and wellbeing into work, with more than half (53%) opting to take the stairs instead of the lift and a third (33%) making time to visit friends and family part of their daily routine.

Richard Adams, Chief Nurse at Bupa UK, comments: “It’s really important that we all take steps to think about how our everyday actions could affect our health when we are older. The good news is that it’s not difficult to make simple changes that can have a positive effect today and help us all live longer, healthier and happier lives in the years to come.

“As well as employees thinking about their health, we would urge employers to create an environment where their workforce can take time to lead healthy, active lifestyles, and lead by example. The risks of not thinking ahead are high – dementia, diabetes are just two examples of diseases that are potential outcomes of unhealthy lifestyles.”

Age UK and Bupa have reviewed existing academic studies and research to compile 10 tips that can help maintain healthy ageing – benefiting both physiological and cognitive health.

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