Are you sitting comfortably? Well, you might be surprised to hear that spending too much time sitting down can have a negative impact on your health!1
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says sitting for long periods of time at work is linked to a whole host of health problems which can’t be solved just by going to the gym alone; prolonged sitting is thought to slow down our metabolism and can affect the way the body controls sugar levels, blood pressure and the breakdown of fat. Researchers have found that being sedentary could be increasing our risk of dying from a number of different diseases2, which gives us even more reason to get on our feet!
A survey conducted by On Your Feet Britain revealed that more than half of respondents said they regularly eat their lunch at their desk.3 Rather worryingly, 45% of women and 37% of men spend less than 30 minutes a day on their feet whilst they’re at work and nearly two-thirds said they were worried this lack of activity was having a negative impact on their health.3
But with so many of us having desk-based jobs, how do we increase the amount of time we’re on our feet?
The idea of standing whilst you’re working might seem odd but it’s a tradition with a long history, with Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway and Benjamin Franklin all advocating working in this way. Standing up at a desk helps keep your blood flowing, making you feel more alert and increasing your productivity. It can also help you develop a better posture and achieve core strength, as well as help with any potential back problems you might have. If standing desks are introduced, it would be wise to invest in adjustable height desks in order to avoid any back problems!
Maximise your lunch break
If you do eat your lunch at your desk, it’s important to try and dedicate a portion of your lunch break to getting on your feet. Statistics show an estimated 2.4kg of weight can be lost over the course of a year just by standing up for an extra 30 minutes each day3, so even walking round the block for half an hour every day could make a big difference to your health.
Your colleagues may also be at risk of developing illnesses associated with a sedentary lifestyle. So, instead of always conducting your internal meetings around a table in a meeting room environment, you could suggest introducing regular ‘walking meetings’. Not only will this get you on your feet, you and your colleagues will feel the benefits of being outside in the fresh air, which could even help you to be more productive when you return to the office! Why not check out our blog on walking for more ways it can benefit your health.
Use your commute wisely
One simple way of ensuring you spend as much time as possible on your feet is by incorporating walking into your daily commute. Try leaving the house 10 minutes earlier so that you have time to either park a little further away from the office or get off public transport earlier so you can walk the rest of the way to work.
If standing up desks don’t suit your work environment or you simply can’t get away from the office because you’re too busy, there are small steps you can take that could still help to make a positive difference to your health. Whenever possible, use the stairs instead of a lift and if you can, stand up whilst you’re on the phone. You can also check and respond to emails using your mobile phone whilst you’re on the move.
1 The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/15/is-sitting-down-bad-for-my-health
2 Springer Link http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00125-012-2677-z
3 BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-32069698