I stood at my desk this morning and found myself reflecting on my back operation that I had a couple of years ago. It was a successful op, the sciatic pain that had constantly travelled up and down my left side feeling like an overworked 1950's elevator straining to complete the hip to toe journey 5 times a minute was now gone.
I don't fully remember the pain level, as it has gone now, and the brain tends to move on, but I do remember the frustration as 12 months turned to 18 months and the elevator was still running its 24x7x365 schedule.
My Op was a requirement; not from the years of rugby, or from the rather spectacular skiing fall that I took directly under a lift in France, (that saw me take off into the stratosphere and then plummet back to the underlying solid piste landing square on my back), but was from a nerve root that was too small: L5 / S1 for those that like the details. The consultant said to blame Dad; it was genetic!
Two years on and standing at my desk has become a habit and I have proved to myself that a standing desk is not just another fad piece of apparatus, gathering dust in the corner of a spare room.
Yet, my back still troubles me - so what I am to do next?
I read that walking meetings are a kind of a big deal at LinkedIn. They say that on any given day you can find workers strolling and talking together on the bike path at the company’s Mountain View, California, headquarters. The path takes about 20-25 minutes to circle — perfect for a half-hour one-on-one with a colleague.
Now to be honest we are not that close to the state of California, but we are close to a fantastic village common, so I am going to promote going for a walk, rather than undoing all my great work from standing, by sitting in a long meeting! I also find it ironic that the smokers in our company (see told you we were not near California) who walk to the smoking area outside, appear to be getting more exercise during the day than the non-smokers!
I first saw the idea on a Ted Talk.
Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health: Next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it into a "walking meeting" — and let ideas flow while you walk and talk.
The walk and talks have obvious benefits. Desk-bound office workers all say that they can use a bit more exercise. Sitting too much is killing us. Yet the walking meeting’s upsides go far beyond the physical.
Walking helps break down formalities, relaxes inhibitions and fosters camaraderie between colleagues — and less eye contact can fuel more personal conversation. Meeting on the go also minimizes distractions: no phones, no email, no texts, no colleagues interrupting you.
The experts are saying that office workers must exercise for an hour a day to counter death risk.
Lead scientist Professor Ulf Ekelund, from Cambridge University and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, said: "We found that at least one hour of physical activity per day, for example brisk walking or bike cycling, eliminates the association between sitting time and death.”
A decent walk – at a speed of just over three miles an hour - was enough to achieve the benefit, he stressed.
"You don't need to do sport, you don't need to go to the gym, it's OK doing some brisk walking maybe in the morning, during your lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day but you need to do at least one hour,” he said.
An hour of brisk walking or cycling spread over a day was enough to combat the dangers of eight hours sitting in the office, they said. Currently, public health advice in the UK recommends just half this level of activity. But almost half of women and one third of men fail to achieve even this.
Simple solution - got a meeting? Take a walk!
Sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day could increase your risk of a premature death by 60 per cent CREDIT: BLOOMBERG Laura Donnelly, health editor Office workers must exercise for one hour a day to combat the deadly risk of modern working lifestyles, a major Lancet study has found. Research on more than one million adults found that sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent. Scientists said sedentary lifestyles were now posing as great a threat to public health as smoking, and were causing more deaths than obesity. They urged anyone spending hours at their desk to change their daily routine to take a five minute break every hour, as well as exercise at lunchtimes and evenings.