Avoiding A Sedentary Desk-Based Lifestyle
There’s no need to be tied to your desk all day – find out how to stay fit and healthy in the accountancy world. It’s easier than you think!
In 2016 Ben Affleck made accountants look super-fit in his 2016 film, ‘The Accountant’. However, we can’t all be like Ben Affleck, and accountancy is of course a largely desk-based role, which is well-known for causing health and weight issues. So, how do real accountants stay in shape? We did some research to find out.
Accountancy may not sound like a dangerous profession, but actually, long hours spent going through the books can cause a whole range of health problems. The reason for this is because accountancy, along with many other professional corporate careers, involves long hours spent sitting at a desk. Research conducted by AXA PPP Healthcare, found that UK workers are spending as much as 9 hours of the day sat down – this includes time at work, as well as sitting in a car, bus or train on the commute to their office job.
Why is this a problem? Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle contributes to obesity, cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal problems; in fact, 73% of the 2,000 workers surveyed reported experiencing back, neck or shoulder pain. Luckily, there are many ways to improve your physical health as an accountant without changing career paths.
Those with a gym membership may feel that they’re exempt from taking care of their physical health during working hours, but actually this couldn’t be further from the truth. Research conducted by the Columbia University Medical Center explains that “Even if you exercise, you still should be mindful of taking breaks and be moving throughout the day, because exercise is not enough to overcome the risks of sitting, and sitting in long bouts.”
Instead, it’s important to move your body approximately every 30 minutes. This may sound impossible in the middle of your day job, but there are plenty of activities that you can incorporate into your working life. Simply visiting the bathroom or kitchen, or walking to a colleague’s desk for a face-to-face discussion instead of sending an email or making an internal phone call, are all ways to get moving and make sure your blood is circulating sufficiently. When you are stuck at the desk on a long conference call, for example, make sure that you maintain a good posture, sitting up tall to avoid becoming hunched.
Wearing a fitness tracker can be helpful, as you can set it to remind you to move periodically and it will count your hourly/daily steps to ensure that you’re on track to improving your health and fitness.
Outside Of The Office
Of course, so long as you’re moving regularly throughout the day, then adopting a healthy exercise regimen either before or after you go to the office is also incredibly beneficial. We spoke to some real professionals at Linda Carr Accountants to find out how they managed to stay in shape. One junior accountant carried out HIIT exercises before work – this type of high-intensity interval training is easy to fit in as it only requires a few minutes, but you’ll be burning calories for hours after you’ve finished. A partner with the firm chose to take a yoga class during her lunch hour, to stay relaxed and avoid the stress associated with working in accountancy, whilst one of the receptionists goes swimming three times a week before dinner.
Fans of the 2016 film, ‘The Accountant’ starring Ben Affleck will be aware of how in shape his character is. And it’s likely that he took some extra measures to become so buff. Healthy nutrition is key to muscle growth, and Affleck admits to eating clean, using the following ratios as a guide to his food intake: 45% carbs, 35% lean protein and 20% essential fats. Make sure that your carb intake is healthy, sticking to wholemeal products and grains such as quinoa, whilst your consumption of fats should be limited to snacks such as nuts rather than the saturated fat which is found in popular office treats like biscuits and brownies.
Although accountancy is traditionally desk-based, so long as you’re committed to staying physically fit, there’s every reason why you can keep yourself in excellent health by eating clean, moving throughout the day, and incorporating some regular exercise sessions into your working week.