Are you sitting down reading this? You may want to stand up.
Did you know, the average office worker sits for about 10 hours a day?! On top of the 8 hours at work, our lives revolve around sitting down, such as eating or browsing the web. And even if you exercise before or after work, it, unfortunately, doesn’t compensate for the effects of sitting the rest of the day.
But what’s the big problem? Prolonged sitting is thought to be extremely bad for us, possibly even worse than smoking, and is associated with higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and depression, as well as muscle and joint problems.
But why? After half an hour of sitting, our metabolism slows down 90 percent. Your fat from your arteries isn’t moved to your muscles where it can be used for energy and your muscles in your lower body are switched off. Your spinal discs are also slowly squashed when sitting and after just 20-30 minutes, the water gets pushed into the surrounding tissues. After two hours, your good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again.
The most recent advice from the British Journal of Sports Medicine is that we should stand at work for at least 2 HOURS, but build up to 4. That can seem like quite a feat so here are my top tips to help you achieve that:
1. Stand during phone calls
If you take a lot of calls this is an easy way to ensure you slide the ratio of sitting to standing in the healthier direction.
2. Move your printer
If possible, put your printer somewhere out of reach of your sitting position or even across the room. And if you have to print a number of things, spread it out across the day rather than doing it all at once.
3. Drink lots
Keeping yourself well hydrated (stay away from too much coffee!) means that you’ll have to get up more to make yourself those drinks AND when nature calls.
4. Change up lunch
Walk somewhere to get lunch, or if you prefer bringing your own, go for a walk rather than eating it at your desk. It’ll also give your mind a well-needed break.
5. Buy a standing desk
Take a leaf out of my book and buy a standing desk. This makes it far easier to get those hours of standing in, especially when you’re busy with work. I bought my sit/stand desk from IKEA and they’re very reasonable.
6. Set a pop-up notification to remind you when 20-30 minutes has passed
If you have a fit bit or an Apple watch you can set it to remind you to move about. But if you don’t’ have one of those, there are plenty of apps that encourage you to stand more regularly.
7. Hold standing or walking meetings
If you’ve got some sayso at work, encourage everyone to do standing or walking meetings. They’re normally more efficient too! And even if you’re not the boss and have to talk something over with a colleague, go for a walk with them instead.
8. Walk over to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an e-mail
A simple one to do and will only take a moment. It also helps build stronger relationships and avoid the dreaded misread tone that text alone can bring.
Want to know some more tips about back pain? Read my other blog here.
Let me know how you get on,
Chiropractor & Owner of Symmetry Chiropractic