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Stop sitting and get moving

by Abigail Khoo

Exercise scientists Jess Woodward and Andy Wong.Exercise scientists Jess Woodward and Andy Wong (pictured right), have a message for all staff and students who are staring at the computer with their eyes glazing over, brain hurting and back sore – get up.

Woodward and Wong (pictured right), who are studying UniSA’s Graduate Diploma in Clinical Exercise Science, conducted a ‘Steps to Workplace Productivity’ seminar at City East Campus on May 18 on how exercise can fit easily into a day, improving productivity and health, whether at work all day or when a big assignment is due.

“It’s not only just about doing physical activity, it’s also about limiting sedentary behaviour,” Wong says.

They discovered through research that sitting down for long periods of time can actually offset the benefit of 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Woodward says many people sit at a desk for eight hours of work or to study for six hours.

“It makes sense that the 45-minute session you had at the gym in the morning starts not to matter as much when you look at the daily scheme of things,” she says.

“Time can go just like that and before you know it you have been sitting down for four hours.

“If you go out and get those bursts of exercise, it really does help you down the track.”

Woodward says the early warning signs which say ‘take a break’ from the desk are things like slouching, hunching or squinting at the computer.

They suggest having at least one break an hour by simply getting up and doing a couple of stretches.

Wong says it is easy to break up your day with little things.

“Go to the toilet on another level in your building. During lunch breaks do exercise, stand up or go for a walk. When you’re on the phone or in a meeting, stand up as much as possible,” he says.

Woodward also gave some tips for easy exercise.

“Take the stairs instead of going in the elevator. Every building has access to a stairwell at UniSA so there shouldn’t be any reason as to why you can’t do that unless some physical impairment prevents you,” she says.

“It also counts to and from work. Instead of driving to work, ride a bike or catch public transport and stand.”

Woodward and Wong say their presentation has made them look a bit harder at their own lifestyle and has become more than simply an assessment piece for their diploma.

“When you think about it, you are more conscious of these things now,” Wong says.

Woodward says anyone can split the recommended 30 minutes into 10-minute exercise sessions and people need to change their perception of exercise.

“I think it is really important for people to really look at how they can approach their day differently in respect to exercise,” Woodward says.

“10 minutes is not much, it goes by in a flash.

“I think when you start making that time, it’s going to become more routine and it’s going to start getting easier.”

She emphasises that little things can amount to good change and are the road to better health.