As we enter into September, the air starts to crisp, leaves begin to change colour, and a newfound motivation to re-evaluate our health and well-being often emerges (if not just to make us feel better for the sheer volume of Christmas food and drink we all consume later in the year). With this in mind, it is the perfect time to introduce “Move More September,” a month dedicated to promoting physical activity, especially for those who spend the majority of their day at a desk which is everyone here at Makara!
Modern work environments have drastically evolved in recent decades, with many of us now spending the majority of our day glued to our desks, peering at screens, and navigating the world wide web. This sedentary lifestyle comes at a physical and mental cost – heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, stroke risk, increased stress, anxiety and depression.1 However, with a few simple adjustments, it is easy enough to get back into a good routine to help keep your mind and body in great shape.
Move More September – A Solution
Move More September is a month when everyone is encouraged, especially desk-bound workers, to prioritise physical activity in their daily routine. Two of Makara’s own, Georgia and Ben, are leading the way by training for the Bath half marathon in October, and to get as many people involved as possible, our wellbeing team have set up a great competition with the GoJoe app to get us exercising in a friendly, competitive environment this September (and hopefully beyond!). However, this is not the first time Makara have encouraged us to get active, previous events such as the ‘Take a Hike’ step challenge, the ‘VP Go’, ‘ Makara 10 peaks challenge’ and various other initiatives have been set up to help us take up healthier habits!
For a company where the majority work remotely and at a desk, exercise is a vital part of keeping healthy, focused and motivated during the day. Here are a few reasons why keeping active is essential:
- Physical Health Benefits – Reduced risk of illness: Exercise helps to decrease your risk of an early death by 30%, mitigating the risks of illness’s such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancer!1
- Mental Health Boost – Stress Reduction: Exercise triggers the release of endorphins and decreases the levels of cortisol, reducing stress and promoting a positive mood by increasing the sensation of pleasure and joy.2 Short, active breaks of aerobic exercise during the day can help alleviate anxiety and depression.3
- Increased Energy – Counteract Fatigue: Desk work can be draining, but exercise can boost your energy levels, helping you stay alert and engaged. This is achieved when more oxygen rich blood is being pumped all around the body, including the brain!4
- Social Connection – Team-building Opportunities: Office challenges can boost social interaction among colleagues and joining a club or team is a great way to merge socialising and exercise.
If, like me, you find yourself tired and irritable after a few hours of starring at your screen, here are some top tips you can use throughout the day to help keep active.
- If you have the time, exercise before your work day even starts, I find even a short walk to get some fresh air before I start sets me up for a great day!
- Get up and move regularly: Set reminders to stand up, stretch, and take a short walk every now and then. (there are a whole list of desk stretches if you are busy and short for time)
- Use your lunch break!: As tempting as it is to sit and watch TV or even work through lunch if you are particularly busy, I guarantee you will feel more focused and productive if you spend 30 mins getting some steps in, or a sweat on!
Move More September serves as a great reminder that our physical and mental health should always be a priority, regardless of our daily work commitments. The benefits of exercise for desk-bound individuals are numerous and far-reaching, from physical well-being to mental health and increased productivity! This September, let’s embrace the opportunity to make positive changes in our lives and commit to moving more, not just this month, but as a lifelong habit and move more! Your body and mind will thank you for it!
- NHS website. Benefits of exercise. Available at : https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/. Accessed September 2023.
- Healthline website. Exercise and the Brain: The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/exercise. Accessed September 2023.
- Sharma A, Madaan V, Petty FD. Exercise for mental health. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;8(2):106.
- British Heart Foundation website. 6 reliable ways to boost your energy levels. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/wellbeing/boost-energy-levels. Accessed September 2023.