It has been evidenced that sitting for long periods of time leads to a lower metabolic rate, (meaning that you burn fat slower) and an increased risk of heart diseases. Dr Hidde Van der Ploeg, a senior lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney found that sitting for 11 or more hours per day increased risk of death by 40%, regardless of other activity levels.
“11 hours, I’m far from it,” you may think… but think again. A typical working day consists of 8-9 hours including lunch, and many of us eat lunch at our desks. Couple this with the hour commute to and from work plus the time spent watching TV and we’re definitely hitting, if not exceeding 11 hours!
Most jobs require desk and PC based work where we sit down most of the time, so, what practical solutions are there?
The phenomenon of standing up whilst taking phone calls is becoming increasingly popular but taking place of lone stander in the office may be overwhelming. Why not suggest to your manager (or if you are a manager, implement this rule) that everyone in the office must stand up when making or taking a phone call. If your role means that you’re inundated with phone calls for most of the day, stand up for 5, sit down for 5. Get your blood flowing and add a few more things to the bucket list!
Incorporate this with Deskercises and you’ll be feeling, looking and thinking healthier…
Sit straight. Look forward. Try to touch your left shoulder with your left ear. Return head
upright. Try to touch your right shoulder with your right ear. Repeat until your neck feels loose.
Upper Body Stretch:
Sit straight. Place your hands on your lower back. Push your hips forward and your shoulders back to arch your spine. Hold and repeat until your shoulders and back feels stretched.
Sit straight. Straighten your arms out. Stretch your wrist back. Touch your shoulders and repeat until your arms feel free.
Sit straight. Raise your heels off the floor and tense leg muscles. Hold and repeat until you’ve given your legs a good workout.
Speedily tap your toes on the floor. Continue until your toes feel flexible.
Maintain a good posture throughout the day to promote healthy blood flow and go for regular
wanders – to get water, chat to a colleague, reply to personal messages. Remember, lunch is there so that you can have a break – physically and mentally! You won’t continue to perform at your highest standard if you sit staring at the same screen for hours on end. Take a break, even if you can only spare 15 minutes out of the hour. Go and get some fresh air and return back to your desk with fresh perspective and renewed fuel to maintain a strong work-life balance.
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan