More exercise for office workers: a blessing for body and soul
Millions of people in Germany spend their working day seated, mostly do not move much and are constantly staring at a monitor. It is therefore not surprising that health problems often arise among office workers. A new study has now shown that work stations that promote physical activity in the office can be physically and psychologically beneficial.
More and more people work while sitting
Our working world is becoming increasingly digital; but that also means that the number of people who work sitting increases. This also increases the risk of health damage due to lack of exercise. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) and the German Sport University Cologne have now demonstrated in a joint practical study with Deutsche Telekom AG that work stations that promote physical activity in the office are not only well received, but can also be physically and mentally beneficial.
Office workers sit for eleven hours a day
As reported by the German Sport University Cologne, Germans sit on office jobs for an average of eleven hours a day. The experts refer to the figures of the German health insurance from 2016.
According to the information, well over 40 percent of employees in Germany now work in such sedentary workplaces.
In addition, there are often long journeys to work. And leisure activities are increasingly characterized by a lack of movement in front of the television or the computer.
Sick from lack of exercise
But lack of exercise and long periods of sitting make you sick. Among other things, this supports chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system.
Other health consequences: an increased risk of type II diabetes, obesity, musculoskeletal complaints due to physical underuse and one-sided attitudes, but also psychological effects such as depressive moods or lack of drive.
Certain complaints such as back problems can often be prevented with minimal exercise.
Sufficient movement is fundamentally important. To get to this, according to health experts, office workers should make sure to take at least 10,000 steps every day.
Avoid inactivity at office and computer workstations
But not only the employees, but also the employer is required to do something about the lack of movement of the workforce and to offer the employees opportunities.
"A promising approach to avoid inactivity in office and screen workplaces is to use dynamic workstations," says a statement from the IFA.
In their investigation, the experts examined two new types of device - the "Deskbike" desk ergometer and the "activeLifeTrainer" undersink device - for their suitability in the real office environment.
Improved mood and willingness to work
"Standard concepts for promoting physical activity combine desk and computer work with light cycling movements. Our study results show that these exercise-promoting workstations actually have positive health effects, ”said Professor Dr. Rolf Ellegast, deputy head of IFA.
"When employees use the workstations, the mood and willingness to work improve noticeably," explains Prof. Jens Kleinert, head of the Psychological Institute of the German Sport University.
In addition, the people of Cologne were able to show that the effects of the devices depend on the frequency of training.
"It has to be three times a week for well-being to benefit in the long term," explains Kleinert. It seems that in these cases regular exercise at the desk can prevent stress and strain from building up.
Physical changes detectable
In the group of 30 Deutsche Telekom AG employees examined over a period of six weeks at real workplaces, physical changes were also detectable:
According to the information, the energy turnover and heart rate of the test subjects at dynamic workplaces were statistically significantly higher than with normal work while sitting.
“The World Health Organization requires at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense activity per week to keep adults healthy. The test subjects met this requirement if they used the examined work stations for a good hour an day. In our view, such workplace concepts have the potential to prevent obesity, ”says Ellegast.
In addition, the researchers at the German Sports University were able to show in the study, which was based on preliminary examinations by the IFA in the laboratory, that employees in practice accept dynamic workstations well and rate them positively. (ad)