Stretching could help workersA healthy workforce may be just a few stretches away, according to one sector commentator.

The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) has advised that Britons should ensure they take some form of exercise whenever possible and that the office is no exception to this rule.

Matt Birtles, ergonomist at the HSL, said that this could help to reduce the aches and pains which are brought on by being sat at a desk for long hours.

"Each time we stand up and walk about it gives our body a break from the fixed posture and lets the muscles relax and blood flow freely for a while. We’ll feel less fatigued by the end of the day," he noted, adding that this could also reduce the chances of getting aches, pains or something more serious.

And employees who are unable to step away from their desks could still do some gentle stretches, Mr Birtles explained, in advice which HR staff may wish to pass on to their workplace colleagues.

His comments follow the publication of an article in this month’s Journal of Applied Physiology from the American Physiological Society, which details a Danish study of women office workers who suffered from back and neck problems relating to their trapezius muscle.