Fitness: How to counter the effects of sitting

Posted on Sep 4 2019 - 9:00am by Samantha Clark
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We’re all too aware that sitting is the new smoking. With the effects of long-term sitting contributing to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, we’re sitting up and taking notice!

When many of us have skills that bind us to a desk chair for 8+ hours a day, what can be done to counter the long-term effects of sitting?

Try and incorporate our 5 tips into your day to ensure you’re sitting less:

Take a break every 30 minutes

In a research piece for the Department of Health, lead by Professor Stuart Biddle on The Sedentary Behaviour and Obesity, it is recommended to take an active break from sitting every 30 minutes.

It doesn’t have to be extensive movement to get some real benefit. A light movement such as walking around the office, a simple stretch, grabbing a drink or popping to the loo can be simple enough to help.

We appreciate that every 30 minutes may not seem as easy, so be sure to at least get up once an hour.  Clock watching has never been so motivational.

office woman call

Make sure you get in your 150 minutes of exercise

The NHS recommends we get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Doing so can help us reduce our risk of the same diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle- that is, sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Suffice it to say, that ensuring we maintain, at least, the minimum recommendations can ensure that we can, in some way, counter the effects of prolonged sitting.

Perhaps spreading your physical activity to the days you’re likely to be sitting for longer, i.e. Monday-Friday, could be beneficial in helping you achieve these goals.

Take your lunchbreak

Make the most of your unpaid lunchbreak and do the food shop, run some errands or simply just get away from your desk for 30-45 minutes at least. A little prolonged movement as opposed to sitting can only help the cause right. Plus, you’ll feel more refreshed and energised for your afternoon’s activities.

Change your position

If you don’t have a stand-up desk or there is no way you can convince your boss to get one, use a laptop table on your desk to elevate your computer so you can work from a standing position. Be sure to make sure it is secure before working from it though, otherwise that could be disastrous.

Even if you cannot customise a stand-up desk, standing to work, even for a brief time, can help.

Office standing

Be sure to stretch it out

Our bodies are designed to move, so if you feel like you’re fidgeting, aching or simply feeling a little tired that’s a sign that your body needs to move about.

Be sure to incorporate stretching regularly into your day to help loosen up muscles and alleviate aches and pains.

We hope these tips prove helpful! If you’re looking for more inspiration to optimise your health at work, check out our below articles.

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