Eight out of ten office workers admit they are ‘desk potatoes’ – who often only get up to go to the toilet, a survey revealed yesterday.
Researchers found millions of workers settle in at their desks at 9am and rarely leave their seats until they head home at 5pm.
The study of 2,000 office workers also discovered more than four in ten claim they are simply ‘too busy’ to get up and stretch their legs.
Others went as far as to admit they frequently ‘scoot’ – wheel their chair across the office – rather than get up and walk.
A handful will even call or email colleagues who sit close by rather than visiting them at their desk.
Zoe Griffiths, Head of Programme and Public Health for Weight Watchers UK which carried out the study, said: ”It’s worrying to see so many desk-bound workers are doing so little activity, and often feeling too busy to even get up and walk around.
”When you have a very busy job which involves spending a large portion of your time at a desk or sitting down, it’s easy to let your activity levels plummet.
”And nowadays in the work environment there is so much pressure to be switched on all of the time; you may feel like you don’t have time to step away from your computer, even if you want to.
”That is why Weight Watchers has teamed up with Diabetes UK to encourage the UK to move more.
”If you are in a sedentary job, it’s important to make every effort to move as much as possible – whether it’s walking over to talk to a colleague, taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting out for a quick walk at lunchtime.”
Douglas Twenefour, Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK, added: ”We know that being more active can help you manage your weight and this, in turn, can significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
”It can also help those who already have the condition to better manage it and reduce their risk of serious complications.
”If you do have a desk job it is a really good idea to find ways to introduce more movement into your day.
”Even if you exercise in the mornings or evenings, reducing the amount of time you spend sitting can make a huge difference to your health.”
The survey of office workers found 87 per cent spend the majority of their working day sat at their desk.
More than eight in ten also admitted that sometimes, they only really go for a walk to go to the toilet or get a drink.
And almost seven in ten even said they often have days when the only walking they do is from the house to the car, car to the office – and back again.
Once at work, around one in five employees only manage to spend around 15 minutes on their feet, while a similar number manage between 20 and 30 minutes.
But while three quarters try to go out at some point for lunch, simply to go for a walk, 39 per cent admit they rarely get chance.
Not everyone is as proactive though as some admitted to calling or emailing colleagues instead of walking over their desk to save them getting up.
Taking the lift instead of the stairs, collecting a day’s worth of printing in one go and avoiding the tea run are also popular ways to avoiding walking more than necessary at work.
Others owned up to avoiding going to the toilet until absolutely necessary, asking colleagues to get their lunch for them and not printing anything at all.
Researchers also found that 84 per cent admit their office jobs means they need to make more effort to do more activity than those who work more labour-intensive jobs.
But almost three in ten do absolutely no exercise when they get home from work.
Eighty-seven per cent even admit they have evenings where they simply get home from work, have dinner and then spend the rest of the evening in front of the TV.
And despite a summer of sporting events, including the World Cup and Commonwealth Games, dominating the television schedule, six in ten said they weren’t inspired to become more active.
Zoe Griffiths, from Weight Watchers UK, added: ”With the summer months coming to an end, now is the time when we start to hibernate and inactivity creeps in even further.
”Now is the perfect time to start to move more and incorporate regular activity into your working and home life – and see the great benefits that come from it.”
* To help reinforce this further, Weight Watchers and Diabetes UK have partnered to create the #healthyselfie challenge, which is designed to encourage everyone in the UK to get active and move more and take a selfie and donate ?1 to Diabetes UK while they do it.
Most common ways workers avoid walking or moving in the office
1. Call or email colleagues to save you getting up to talk to them
2. Take the lift up a floor or two instead of taking the stairs
3. Print things through the morning/day but only collect them all in one go
4. Avoid doing the tea run
5. Scoot around on your chair instead of walking short distances
6. Avoid going to the toilet until absolutely desperate
7. Drink slowly so you don’t have to walk to the drinks machine/water cooler
8. Ask colleagues to get your lunch for you to save you going out
9. Avoid printing things
10. Ask colleagues to pop over to your desk to save you getting up
Top ten tips to ‘Move More’ at work:
1. Walk over to colleagues instead of calling or emailing
2. Take the stairs instead of the lift
3. Go to the printer each time you print
4. Impress your colleagues by making the effort to do the tea run
5. Make the effort to get up and walk around the office
6. Take regular breaks to grab a drink
7. Stand up and move around in meetings
8. Where possible offer to pop out and grab lunch for you and your colleagues
9. Consider investing in a swiss ball or something similar, so you can engage your core while you are sitting at your desk
10. Make a point of stretching or moving at your desk every 15 – 30 mins