Why you need to do office yoga

20 April 2017 by
First published: 13 November 2016

It may sound embarrassingly odd to attempt yoga at your desk, but here’s why you need to do office yoga.  

Very few of us stop to consider that sitting for extended periods of time could be just as risky for long-term health as standing. And as more of us are gambling with our health for the comfort of desk jobs, we are also raising our risks of premature death, as well as other serious health conditions by up to 60 per cent. Although current NHS guidelines recommend only 30 minutes of activity per day, new studies have shown that at least one hour of exercise each day could be necessary to reverse chronic health risks caused by sedentary lifestyles. By constantly sitting, we’re damaging our body almost as badly as if we were smoking. We spend on average more time sitting down than sleeping each day – with office workers in particular sitting for almost 15 hours a day.

But there are changes you can make. ‘Instead of calling your colleague on the phone or emailing, break up your day with light bursts of physical activity such as walking up the stairs to their office or going for a lunchtime walk.’ says Daniela Schmid, researcher at The National Cancer Institute.

We spoke to Active Working Founder Gavin Bradley, to find out more about why sitting down is so bad for us. ‘The most common misconception is that regardless how active you are no-one is safe from the potential health risks of prolonged sitting, including reduced cardiovascular and mental health,’ explains Gavin. Here are more side effects…

Immobilised muscles

A sedentary lifestyle immensely affects our muscle mass reducing the quality and strength. Sitting with little movement for hours can immobilise the muscles we desperately need to metabolise sugar and fat within our body. This can lead to high cholesterol, weight gain and diabetes.

Insulin resistance

Sedentary behavior has been proven to push the body harder to absorb sugar and make the insulin we need to maintain a healthy circulation of glucose. This can lead to changes in energy levels and insulin resistance. When glucose builds up in the blood, the potential for insulin resistance that will lead to type 2 diabetes increases. While type 2 diabetes is often treatable, the symptoms – including fluctuating weight, sight problems and frequent urination – could all be avoided through small lifestyle changes.


On average, we burn less than 100 calories per hour while seated, which can make weight management a challenge for those with inactive lifestyles. While a nutritious diet can be effective, without regular exercise our body still begins to store fat and can potentially lead to obesity.

So, what can we do?

As frightening as these risks are, we know you’re probably thinking: ‘there’s already not enough hours in the day never mind adding exercise!’ But we’ve found a creative new way to sneak exercise into your busy schedule and defy the limitations.

Keeping you fighting fit, yoga expert Samantha Shaw and specialist office furniture suppliers, Furniture at Work, have developed an easy to follow Office Yoga campaign.

Using the usual office furniture and minimal space, their workout is extremely effective not only for improving physical capabilities such as flexibility, stamina and strength, but also mental alertness. It’s possible your colleagues are already slyly practicing office yoga, as the routine is designed to incorporate everyday tasks such as filing and head scratching. Providing a light burst of activity, this yoga routine can support muscle mass maintenance and help to burn a few extra calories. To give it a try, visit ‘Office Yoga at Your Desk’ from Furniture at Work on YouTube.