Dubai: A countrywide proactive campaign addressing the risks raised by a sedentary lifestyle at the workplace was launched by the Arabian Healthcare Group on Monday.
The campaign ‘My Employees’ Health First,’ which is targeting more than 300 corporate houses, aims to motivate office workers to remain active despite doing stationary desk jobs.
The programme will begin with the ‘Just Move’ Initiative, which aims to encourage employees to find time for physical activity at regular intervals during office hours.
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“The initial two months will focus on what we call, ‘Just Move’, which includes the four main pillars: work, stretch, drink, repeat,” said Dr Raza Siddiqui, CEO Arabian Healthcare Group and Executive Director, RAK Hospital.
Besides taking a short break every hour to unwind, employees will be taught light exercises to help them relax their neck, shoulder, wrist and back muscles, encouraging them into adopting a more active lifestyle.
“For clearer instructions, there will also be visual guidelines on how to best do the exercises, which are available with us. We’ll also ask corporates to send in their videos to see how well the programme was implemented,” said Dr Jean Marc Gauer, CEO RAK Hospital.
Companies can also take part in live streaming of the ‘Just Move campaign’ activities on their social media platforms.
Dr Gauer pointed out that sitting for around eight hours a day at the workplace increases the risk of contracting heart disease, cancer and diabetes by 40 per cent.
He explained that while there are uncontrollable factors that could lead to contracting serious diseases such as age, gender, race, and genetics, there are also several controllable factors that could help decrease the risks.
“These factors are diet, body weight, level of physical activity, level of sun exposure, smoking, and alcohol abuse,” listed Dr Gauer.
He also highlighted that sedentary lifestyle at workplaces has become one of the biggest culprits of health problems such as diabetes, ischemic heart diseases, neuropathy and obesity, among others. Recent news reports also claim that degenerative spine diseases, slip disc, narrow spinal cord and vertebral fractures are growing phenomena among UAE workers, particularly those chained to their desks.
Dr Gauer explained that sitting all day in head-forward and slumped-shoulder position can affect breathing and blood flow to the brain. It is also essential that people drink at least eight glasses of water every day, since insufficient water intake can lead to various health issues, he added.
The campaign was inaugurated by Rabab Al Tajir, the first Emirati woman international and national car rally driver, at Dubai RAK Diabetes Centre, Jumeirah.
“In this day and age, where more and more people are falling victim to illnesses, we have to take full responsibility of our health. But because we are so wrapped up in our daily routine, we don’t find the time or inclination to focus on our fitness,” said Al Tajir.
DESIGN FOR HUMAN BODY
Also addressing the common of issue of lack of exercise among employees, Dr Siddiqui said the human body is not designed for long period of inactivity.
However, he pointed out that intense exercise after a long day of inactivity can potentially cause torn ligaments and bone and joint injuries. “This is why one of the key activities in our programme is that the employees leave their desk and move about for various chores,” he said.
Dr Yasmin Shaikh, Group Marketing Head, Arabian Healthcare Group said the programme suggests that employees should walk away from their work stations every hour to get water instead of keeping filled water bottles with them.
“They should also drink a glass of water (250ml) in three sips. Our aim is that every individual should drink minimum eight glasses of water every day to flush out toxins from the body and lead a healthy and productive life,” she added.
Lifestyle related diseases:
— Cardiovascular disease
— Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
— Musculoskeletal disorder
Risks of sedentary life:
— Increases obesity
— Increases colon cancer by 24%
— Increases endometrial cancer by 32%
— Increases lung cancer 21%
— Increases risk of gout
— Increases risk of gallstones
— Increases risk of arthritis
— Higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer
— Blood sugar spiking
— Increases risk of developing erectile dysfunction and reduces sperm count
— Increases risks of heart attack and stroke