Sedentary staff embarrassed to exercise

More than one in three employees are too embarrassed to exercise during their working day.

A study by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) of 1,383 working individuals reveals that 35 per cent don’t want to be seen getting hot and sweaty in front of colleagues.

Some 55 per cent spend more than half their working day sitting or standing still, with nearly half (48 per cent) eating lunch at their desks.

Overall, 81 per cent of UK workers fail to get the recommended amount of exercise a week.

Lisa Purcell, project manager for the BHF’s Health at Work Programme says: ‘Embarrassment shouldn’t prevent people from being healthy at work. The payoffs from even simple changes like taking a walk at lunchtime are too great to ignore.’

Simple measures can be put in place to improve the health of company workforces.

Adds Purcell: ‘Swapping tea-break biscuits for fruit or getting the team together for a lunchtime kickaround in the car park can improve productivity, reduce staff turnover and mean fewer sick days.’

UK employees in bad shape

British workers are in poor health, with more than 10 million UK male employees found to be overweight or obese.

According to a survey of 8,778 workers by water cooler company Water Wellpoint, two thirds have an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

Nearly a third of respondents have high blood pressure and 59 per cent have a lower fluid intake than is recommended.

Female workers don’t fare much better, with 44 per cent of women tested having a higher BMI than recommended, reinforcing data showing that more than half (56 per cent) are overweight or obese.

Rory Murphy, spokesman at Water Wellpoint, says: ‘We believe [poor health] is a real issue, both for employers who are trying to tackle sickness absence levels and maintain productivity, and for the coalition government which has made it clear it will cut costs across the welfare system and the NHS.’

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