Scientists reveal the best workouts for Britain's workforce
As official restrictions have now eased most work-from-home Brits are now back in the office. But not everything has to be ‘business as usual’ as leading Sports & Exercise Scientist, Dr Peter Angell, has revealed some of the best workouts to complement different job types, with some surprising findings.
In his findings Dr Angell has recommended: yoga for tradespeople; martial arts for office workers; boxing for hairdressers; drum & bass dance workouts for retail workers; HIIT & Zumba for healthcare professionals; kickboxing for teachers; skipping for drivers; and digital workouts for stay-at-home parents.
The research marks the launch of global fitness app TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT on the HUAWEI WATCH 3 AppGallery, delivering a seamless and connected experience between smartphone and smartwatch devices. To further reward WATCH 3 customers, TRUCONNECT and HUAWEI AppGallery are offering a year’s free subscription to TRUCONNECT to experience all the benefits of a truly integrated fitness app.
Dr Angell initially examined the typical exercise profile of different jobs and formulated his workout advice to include exercises that would target opposing muscle groups and relax or strengthen areas of the body that people in different jobs need the most.
His key findings for each job type are highlighted below, along with teaser videos for the best TRUCONNECT content per profession, with a full report by Dr Angell available on request.
Includes jobs like: Builder, plumber, electrician, roofer, carpenter, painter/decorator.
Profile: A job that involves lifting heavy tools and equipment, manual labour and lots of time standing up.
Dr Angell says: “According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, of the 81,000 work-related ill-health cases reported annually by construction workers around 57% are musculoskeletal disorders.”
Dr Angell recommends not more heavy lifting, but Yoga or Pilates: “Exercise such as yoga or Pilates are excellent for developing overall general strength throughout the body with a particular focus on ‘core strength’ and can facilitate the development of mobility and strength throughout a full range of motion, which is vital for preventing overuse injuries.”
Includes jobs like: Doctor, nurse, midwife, paramedic, porter, pharmacist.
Profile: A job that involves being on your feet for long periods of time, a high daily step-count and can include a small amount of upper body exercise. This type of job also leaves limited spare time for working out.
Dr Angell says: “Those working in health and social care have some of the highest rates of work-related ill health. Whilst 50% of work-related ill health cases were linked to stress, depression or anxiety, there were around 63,000 cases of musculoskeletal disorders reported in the health sector.”
“Whole-body HIIT or Tabata based workouts are ideal for those with limited time availability and the use of a smartwatch to track metrics such as heart rate during a workout can help ensure an appropriate intensity is maintained to reap all the benefits of the workout. To maintain an exercise regime, particularly in those with high-stress jobs and limited time, the need for a workout that is fun and enjoyable is not to be underestimated. Workouts such as Zumba, hula-hooping or skipping can add a fun element to exercise and increase the chances of maintaining it long-term.”
Hair or Beauty Therapists
Includes jobs like: Hairdresser, barber, beautician.
Profile: A job that involves standing in the same position for long periods of time with some use of upper body, arms and hands.
Dr Angell says: “Just as prolonged sitting has been highlighted as a significant health risk in recent years, there is growing evidence that excessive time standing can be just as problematic for overall health. In addition, there is also a risk of overuse of repetitive strain injuries and the development of lower limb and back discomfort.”
“For those who spend a lot of time on their feet, a whole-body work out to help develop whole-body strength and endurance is pivotal. Boxing or boxing-related workouts are excellent workouts for engaging the whole body. In addition, the utilisation of Pilates can improve trunk strength and stability, vital for postural strength and stability, whilst also limiting impact on joints that are taking the strain throughout the working day. The use of activity trackers can also be extremely beneficial for those in this area.”
Includes jobs like: Lawyer, accountant, sales manager, PA/EA, finance manager, office manager, banker, journalist.
Profile: A sedentary job that involves sitting at a desk for long stretches each day and limited movement.
Dr Angell says: “Sedentary behaviour is now cited as one the biggest health concerns across the globe and is increasing at a significant rate in the more economically developed countries. On top of the negative cardiometabolic effects being sedentary can have on an individual’s health, there is also a significant risk of a reduction in overall mobility due to the excessive time-spent sitting with reductions in things like hip mobility.”
“The use of martial arts/combat sports-based workouts, which increase heart rate and develop strength can be of significant benefit for those in office-based work. Grappling-based sports such as Judo, Wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provide a whole-body workout that develops overall aerobic and muscular endurance as well as strength.”
Retail and Hospitality workers
Includes jobs like: Shop assistant, barista, restaurant/bar staff, chef, cleaner.
Profile: A job that involves long hours on your feet and a constant amount of moderate movement, with some lifting required.
Dr Angell says: “The demands and requirements of those working in retail and hospitality can vary significantly across job roles. Whilst these roles encompass shop workers, bar staff, cleaners and a myriad of other jobs, most are characterised by long periods of being on your feet, regular lifting and moving of items, limited breaks and often unsociable or shifting work patterns.”
The irregular and long working hours can make motivation an issue when it comes to working out, so Dr Angell recommends drum and base fuelled dance workouts for this group of workers: “The use of dance-based HIIT workouts would be an ideal time-efficient workout for those with limited time, and can help develop aerobic capacity while being well-suited as a morning workout. Workouts using house or drum and bass music could be particularly useful as the high bpm can ensure that a high intensity is maintained throughout the workout.”
Includes jobs like: Teachers, lecturers, nursery staff, childminders.
Profile: A job that involves spending long hours in classrooms, or supervising playtime. Mostly limited opportunities for exercise, but long holidays.
The education sector accounts for nearly 11% of the work force in the UK (HSE, 2020), employing around 1.5 million people across a range of teaching and administrative roles. Dr Angell notes: “Each year there is an estimated 140,000 work related cases of ill health in the UK with 55% linked to stress, depression or anxiety, and 24% linked to musculoskeletal disorders.”
For teachers, Dr Angell suggests a two-pronged approach for term time and holiday time based on time constraints, with kick-boxing being the perfect term-time antidote to stressed out teachers short on time: “High-intensity workouts are best suited when time is limited, and so the use of high-intensity workouts, such as kick-boxing based HIIT sessions can improve not only cardiovascular health and endurance, but also whole-body muscular endurance and strength.”
When it comes to holiday time he notes: “During holiday periods when there may be less constraints on time, a change in exercise routine could be used to develop other physiological characteristics. Including runs or hikes in nature can not only help aerobic endurance but can also help with mental wellbeing.”
Includes jobs like: Taxi drivers, couriers, postmen/women, delivery drivers, bus & train drivers, truckers.
Profile: A job that can involve being sedentary for long periods of time with occasional periods of activity which sometimes requires lifting heavy loads.
For workers who spend the majority of their day on the road Dr Angell comments that “The ergonomics of drivers’ seating positions, long periods in a seated position, and often the combination with manual handling can all contribute to a range of musculoskeletal problems.”
To get drivers up and moving, even when on the road, Dr Angell recommends skipping as an exercise routine where the equipment required can still fit inside a glove box: “For a high-intensity exercise bout while on the road, skipping-based workouts require minimal equipment and space and could significantly improve overall cardiovascular health parameters if used regularly.”
Dr Angell also recommends trying ZUU workouts, which refers to a particular flavour of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): “Zuu workouts combine elements of strength, agility, mobility, and aerobic endurance that may not only improve overall health outcomes but can also develop strength and mobility to help combat some of the musculoskeletal problems experienced by many professional drivers.”
Full Time Parents
Includes jobs like: Full time parents and childminders.
Profile: For those looking after young children, constantly having to bend down to pick children up or pick up toys they have dropped.
There is around two million full time, stay-at-home parents in the UK, with an overwhelming majority of those being women, with many millions more undertaking a childcare role in conjunction with part-time or flexible working (ONS, 2019). Dr Angell notes, “Stay at home parents perform a demanding role that often requires frequent lifting and twisting resulting in an increase in lower back pain, with little rest that is often only in short time blocks..”
For full time parents Dr Angell suggests that digital circuit-based workouts are key: “To help with exercise adherence, there is strong evidence that engaging in exercise with people increases the likelihood of someone sticking to an exercise plan. Using an exercise app can help to create an exercise community that helps motivate people to stick with a new training regime.”
Graham Long, Director Ecosystem Development, Huawei UK Consumer Business Group, said: “As the nation returns to new or familiar working routines, it’s important we get a greater understanding of the ways we can look after our health. Our growing partnership with TRUCONNECT and the new HUAWEI WATCH 3 AppGallery integration means we can offer our users an increasingly diverse array of fitness experiences to suit different lifestyles."
Dr Peter Angell, Senior Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Science, said: “It’s not a case of ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to exercise, so it’s important that people evaluate their lifestyle when devising their exercise routine. Every job has such specific conditions that impact an individual’s day to day life and while we spend so much time working, it is crucial that this is factored into workout planning. The development of smartwatch health monitoring features and the growing wealth of online fitness content is really exciting as it gives us another tool to help us manage our exercise and fitness.”
Dave Weir, CEO, TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT commented: “Fitness and our overall well-being is at the heart of TRUCONNECT, so we are delighted to have worked with Dr Peter Angell to showcase how the multitude of content available on this platform can be tailored to lots of different lifestyles.”
TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT is one of the first major UK partners to deliver an integrated app for the HUAWEI WATCH 3; Huawei’s new flagship smartwatch series. The versatile fitness offering available through the app is complemented by the continuous health monitoring capabilities of the watch, including heart rate and Sp02 tracking, with workouts for all levels led by specialist trainers and celebrities, including Amanda Cerny, Helen Flanagan, and Jacqueline Fernandez.
To ensure HUAWEI WATCH 3 owners get the best the app has to offer, TRUCONNECT and HUAWEI AppGallery are rewarding all WATCH 3 and WATCH 3 Pro customers in the UK with a year’s free subscription to the service, granting unlimited access to fitness and wellbeing classes. More details can be found here: https://truconnect.fit/huawei/