Do you spend all day sitting at a desk? Thought so… Many of us think we can pop to the gym after work, or go for a run when we get home and that will cancel out the effects of our desk jobs…. wrong! We weren’t made for sitting, having evolved to be upright, active and alert. Recently there has been a lot more research on the link between sitting and health. The conclusions, sorry for you, say that no amount of physical activity is enough to combat the dangerous health effects of sitting for hours each day. Don’t get me wrong, frequent breaks from sitting definitely help, but they aren’t enough to combat all of the negative effects of those 6-8 hours we spend at our desks. The cure for the sitting isn’t exercising more, it’s sitting less. The antidote to sitting all day, however, is not to stand all day. Our bodies respond best when we engage in a variety of movements — walking, standing, bending and even squatting Studies have linked long periods of sitting with an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Sedentary days have also been shown to increase anxiety. Of course we can’t ignore the deactivation of our gluteal (butt) muscles, and the tightening of our hamstrings, hips and quads, not to mention the neck and back pain which increases from our desk job. Lots of sitting can lead to lots more sitting. You feel tired after a long day at work, and all you want to do is sit on your couch when you get home. It’s in these moments that you need to remind yourself of the detrimental effects of all that sitting and go for a brisk walk, or hit the gym instead (even though it’s sometimes the last thing you want to do) So, what can we do?
  1. Swop tv time for active hobbies. Become an active-lifestyle person, in your everyday life and not just in the office.
  2. Walk or cycle to work, or jump off one tube or bus stop before and do a brisk walk for the last few minutes
  3. Set alarms on your phone to regularly stand up and take a walk around (2 minutes every hour is the bare minimum)
  4. Correct your posture at the desk. At least make your posture good when you’re at the desk.
  5. Continue your workout at work - sit on a physio ball, or a physio cushion instead of your office chair, balance on one leg while taking a call, or go for walking meetings.
  Try this mini workout at your desk at least once every day
  1. Roll your shoulders back and forwards 10 times each Find a doorway and lean through it, with your arms on the door frame (to stretch out your upper back)
  2. Link your hands and stretch your arms forward, rounding your upper back. (standing cat stretch)
  3. Roll your feet around clockwise and then anti-clockwise 10-15 times.
  4. Do 10 squats next to your desk, or lunge your way across the office to the printer, or coffee machine.... or if you share an office, find an unused meeting room and spend 2 minutes in there, putting your health first.
  5. Close your eyes for a few seconds, and then gently open them and focus on an object at the far end of the office, which just rests them from the screen for a moment.
  With a few small tweaks, you can be on track to a day with less sitting and more movement. Stand up, for yourself!

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