Are you sitting down?
As you’re reading this, the chances are you’re sitting down. Which begs the question; how long you do you spend sitting each day? Take a moment to tot up the hours. Does your day sound like this…?
• 7.5 hours sitting at work
• 1 hour commuting
• 3 hours sitting at home (reading/ watching TV)
• 1.5 hours sitting at home (working on computer?)
• 1 hour sitting eating
• 8 hours sleeping
When you think about it, that amount of time we now spend on our bottoms is quite shocking. Our bodies are designed to move and this much Sedentary Behaviour (SB) is having a detrimental effect on our health… Not to mention our workplace productivity and performance.
After just 90 minutes sitting, your metabolic rate slows down dramatically, affecting your body’s ability to break down blood sugar. You’re at 48% more risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity! Prolonged sitting puts you at a 50% increased risk of heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Some evidence is even saying that prolonged sitting has overtaken smoking as a major health risk.
Sitting for too long limits the amount of oxygen and fresh blood circulating to the brain meaning our feel-good hormones are suppressed. This can lead to feelings of depression at work. Prolonged sitting at a computer also affects our shoulder and neck joints as we slouch and hold our neck forward when concentrating at the computer. Our hips, legs and gluteals are also affected as the muscles are inactive for extensive periods of time.
What can we do?
The World Health Organisation recommends that inactive people should start with small amounts of physical activity as part of their daily routine. This can be built up gradually over time. Simple, minor changes at work will yield noticeable results. Ideally, we need to be spending 2 – 4 hours on our feet during our working day. Here are our top 10 tips for making your workday more active:
Tip 1: Leave the bus one stop earlier than you usually would.
Tip 2: If you can, try cycling to work a couple of days a week. Not only will this boost your movement and health, but help the environment too.
Tips 3: Whilst working, set a reminder for every 20 minutes to stretch your arms and legs, stand up or walk around the office.
Tip 4: Walk to the printer, photocopier, water cooler or offer to make a drink for the team.
Tip 5: Stand up during your phone calls.
Tip 6: Leave your desk and walk over to speak to a colleague rather than emailing or phoning them.
Tip 7: Take the stairs, not the lift!
Tip 8: Remember to take your lunch break, and preferably leave the office for a walk in the fresh air.
Tip 9: Try to ensure you eat away from your desk and away from your computer no matter how busy you are.
Tip 10: Ask your boss about investing in a sit stand desk or sit stand workstation. Reports suggest 120 calories a day can be burned by using a sit stand workstation, which adds up over the course of just a week. Standing can also help alleviate the back pain associated with prolonged sitting.
There are a variety sit stand desks available, from the Elev8 Touch straight sit stand desk, ideal for those who want to conduct standing meetings with ease; or the Lotus™ Sit-Stand Workstation providing an efficient and safe way to convert your desk to a comfortable standing position.
To work well, it’s essential to get moving and adopt a good posture throughout your day. A combination of sitting and standing is the best way forward… Changing just a few of your work habits and adopting them as the norm will ensure a healthier, happier workplace with less absenteeism and higher motivation rates, and studies in the USA have shown that 78% of workers using a sit stand desk were more likely to report a pain free day than those sitting all day.
What are you waiting for…? Make time for moving and standing in your working day.
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