LIFESTYLE

From Couch Potatoes To Desk Potatoes, This Is Proof We Need To Get Out Of Our Chairs More

18/09/2014 15:27 BST | Updated 18/09/2014 15:59 BST

So, desk potatoes are fast becoming a 'thing'.

And when we say 'desk potatoes' we're not referring to a desktop figurine of Mr Potato Head that you might have, or even the way that you eat your jacket potato at your desk.

Nope, we're talking about a new and totally unhealthy practice which is sweeping the nation, and can ultimately cause some pretty nasty health issues, too.

desk potato

A bi-product of the infamous 'couch potato', the desk potato is rapidly carving a path of its own within society.

But what is one? A person who doesn't leave their chair at work during the day and if they do, it's for a pitiful amount of time.

New research has revealed that eight out of ten office workers admit to feeling like desk potatoes as they only walk away from their chairs during the working day to either go to the toilet or get a drink.

The study, which was commissioned by Weight Watchers UK found that millions of workers settle in at their desks at 9am, and rarely leave their seats until they head home at 5pm. It also emerged that more than 4 out of 10 people claim they are ‘too busy’ to get up and stretch their legs.

Shockingly, other people admitted to frequently ‘scooting’ across the office on their wheeled chair to save time, while a handful said they even call or email colleagues who sit close by rather than visiting them at their desk.

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Zoe Griffiths, head of programme and public health for Weight Watchers UK said: “It’s worrying to see so many desk-bound workers are doing so little activity, and often feeling too busy to even get up and walk around.

‘’When you have a very busy job which involves spending a large portion of your time at a desk or sitting down, it’s easy to let your activity levels plummet.

”And nowadays in the work environment there is so much pressure to be switched on all of the time; you may feel like you don’t have time to step away from your computer, even if you want to.

”If you are in a sedentary job, it’s important to make every effort to move as much as possible – whether it’s walking over to talk to a colleague, taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting out for a quick walk at lunchtime.”

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The survey, of 2,000 office workers, found 87 per cent spend the majority of their working day sat at their desk. Other startling statistics include:

:: 8 out of 10 workers admit that sometimes, they only really go for a walk to go to the toilet or get a drink.

:: 7 in 10 people said that they often have days when the only walking they do is from the house to the car, car to the office – and back again.

:: Around 1 in 5 employees only manage to spend around 15 minutes on their feet once in work, while a similar number manage between 20 and 30 minutes.

:: Three quarters of employees try to go out at some point for lunch, simply to go for a walk. On the other hand, 39 per cent admit they rarely get the chance.

:: Taking the lift instead of the stairs, collecting a day’s worth of printing in one go and avoiding the tea run are also popular ways to avoiding walking more than necessary at work.

:: 3 in 10 people do absolutely no exercise when they get home from work.

:: 87% admit they have evenings where they simply get home from work, have dinner and then spend the rest of the evening in front of the TV, couch potato-style.

:: And finally, despite a summer of sporting events including the World Cup and Commonwealth Games dominating the television schedule, 6 out of 10 people said they weren’t inspired to become more active.

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Douglas Twenefour, Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK, said: “We know that being more active can help you manage your weight and this, in turn, can significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It can also help those who already have the condition to better manage it and reduce their risk of serious complications.

”If you do have a desk job it is a really good idea to find ways to introduce more movement into your day. Even if you exercise in the mornings or evenings, reducing the amount of time you spend sitting can make a huge difference to your health.”

Zoe Griffiths added: “With the summer months coming to an end, now is the time when we start to hibernate and inactivity creeps in even further.

"Now is the perfect time to start to move more and incorporate regular activity into your working and home life – and see the great benefits that come from it.”

The moral of the story? Say no to being a 'tato. Be a runner bean instead.