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Does your work give you a workout? New research from London City Airport suggests airports could be one of the most active workplaces

The annual Christmas binge is complete and New Year resolutions are being drawn up. It’s a time when many people look to the lifestyle changes and fitness regimes they can adopt to wipe the slate clean.
With the NHS’ estimate that approximately 4 in 5 people in the UK have a desk-based job, spending long periods of the day sitting down, most places of work are not synonymous with physical activity.  


London City Airport, however, has undertaken internal research that demonstrates that an airport could be among the most active workplaces in the country, rivalling even postal workers, construction workers and farmers.

The airport interviewed staff in different roles, including cabin crew, airport managers based in the terminal and even the on-site fire service, surveying the equipment they use and distance travelled on foot, using pedometers.

The findings, presented in a new infographic and YouTube video, highlight the breadth and variety of physical roles which exist at London City Airport.

A London City Airport spokesperson said: “We knew the London City Airport team worked hard, but even we were surprised to find they are Olympic-level walkers, champion weightlifters, and do enough bicep curls to make any gym goer sweat – every day.

“Before you reach for this year’s must-have fitness DVD or sign up for an expensive gym membership, consider simple steps you can take whatever your day job, to get more active.”

With up to 300 flights arriving and departing at London City Airport every day, baggage handlers have an important role to play in order to maintain the speedy flight turnaround times. On average they process over 7 tonnes of hold luggage by hand each day – more than 1 tonne greater than an African elephant.

It is airport managers that clock up the mileage on foot – an impressive 9.1 miles on average for each shift, in and around the 18,000m2 passenger terminal, which is the equivalent to 37 laps of an Olympic race track. Even at an altitude of 40,000 feet, cabin crew manage to clock 3 miles on average during a 1 hour 30 minute flight, to one of the airport’s nearly 50 destinations. Aircraft marshallers, who work on the airfield come rain or shine, direct up to 20 flights during a shift using an array of different arm signals, meaning that not only do they walk on average 5 miles, but do 160 ‘bicep curls’ with the marshalling batons.

Lifting some of the heaviest equipment is the on-site fire brigade, who train in 300° heat and wear 10kg of uniform, sometimes training with 12kg of breathing apparatus and 16kg fire hoses.

For the benefit of the majority of people who don’t have the superhuman strength of a firefighter, the airport’s local fitness instructor, Julian Dominique, recommends a few simple exercises to stay active in the office.

7 ‘Desk-ercise’ tips - exercises which can be done in an office
Compiled by Julian Dominique, a Health & Fitness Tutor at the University of East London
1. Chair Squats
Placing your hands across your chest simply sit to stand from your chair, making sure that your feet are positioned hip width apart with your ankles under your knees. Challenge yourself and improve your balance as well by performing the squat on one leg. A great exercise to tone up your thighs and increase lower body strength.



2. Seated Hamstring Stretch


This is a good stretch to help bad posture and can reduce the symptoms of back ache which can occur from prolonged seating or repetitive strain. Sitting in the front of your chair, place one leg straight and the other bent. Point the toes of the straight leg to the ceiling and lean forward. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds.



3. Chair Dips


Making sure that your chair is secure, place both hands on the front of the seat and lower your body toward the floor by bending your elbows. Push through the palms of your hands to lift the body back up and then lower and repeat. To increase the intensity, try this exercise with straight legs.

4. Seated Chest Stretch
Place both hands behind your back, or the back rest of your chair. Keeping the chin up and your back straight, lift the chest and squeeze your elbows back towards each other. This is a great stretch for posture improvement if you spend your days typing at a computer or carrying items. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds.

5. Tuck Crunches
Sitting in the front of your seat, place both of your hands onto the seat behind you and lift your feet off of the floor. Keeping your back straight, lean back slightly. Holding this “V” position lower your feet towards the floor (without touching) and lift them again, repeat as many times as you can.



6. Torso Rotations
This can be performed standing or seated and is a great movement to keep your spine mobile and healthy whilst stretching the muscles in your back. Keeping your lower body facing forwards, rotate the trunk trying to keep your neck and head also in line with your spine. Perform this “torso twist” in a slow and controlled manner only rotating as far as your back will allow.



7. Head Tilts
This is a great move to stretch the neck and can help to reduce aches and pains in the upper back muscles as well as reoccurring headaches. Simply tilt your head towards your shoulder and hold. You can also perform half circles from left to right for an increased reduction in neck tension. 

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