keep work from killing you

By tom rath

Today, only 20 percent of jobs require real activity. This trans- formational shift mirrors increases in diabetes and obesity rates. You can now accomplish countless tasks with click of a mouse and a few keystrokes.

While this increases efficiency, it comes at the expense of our physical health.

This epidemic of inactivity now spans the globe. From the United States to India and China, technology — from computers to washing machines — minimizes the need for manual labor, and our health suffers as a result. The way we cook, clean, work, and make products no longer requires strenuous activity.

Because of these seismic shifts in activity levels, you now have to find ways to infuse deliberate movement into your day. If you work in a traditional office setting, it is in your company’s best interest to ensure you get some activity during the workday.

Emerging research suggests companies that provide employees with time to exercise, even during working hours, do not lose any business. In fact, this research shows how you could be more productive if your organization gives you time to exercise during the workday. Even when you work fewer hours in a week, the tradeoff is a net positive for you and your organization. Other studies find that employees see significant increases in overall earnings as their activity levels rise.

Find a few moments each day when you can walk briskly. Ask a colleague to go for a walking meeting instead of sitting in uncomfortable chairs. The late Steve Jobs was famous for requiring colleagues and clients to go on walking meetings around his neighborhood. When a reporter asked him why he did, Jobs explained he could think better when he walked.

If nothing else, make sure you get up several times a day and move around your workspace. Work can make you fat, sick, and tired. But building movement into your daily routine will provide a buffer against today’s sedentary jobs. As a leading public health researcher put it, “In many ways we’ve engineered physical activity out of our lives, so we’ve got to find ways to put it back into our lives.”

Categories: Wellness

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By tom rath

Tom Rath is an author and researcher who studies the role of human behavior in business, health, and well-being. He has written five New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers over the past decade including his most recent book, Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Shape Your Work and Well-being. Tom serves as a senior scientist for and advisor to Gallup, where he previously spent thirteen years leading the organization’s work on employee engagement, strengths, leadership, and well-being. He is also a scientific advisor to Welbe. Developed by O.C. Tanner, Welbe uses apps and wearable technology to improve health and well-being in the workplace.