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General Health Tips

Just Stand Up!

Standing up for longer periods throughout your day will increase the amount of calories you burn and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Simply going to the gym for 45 mins 3 times a week (although we encourage it wholeheartedly) may not be enough to counter balance the ill-effects sitting all day can have on your health. (Dr. Genevieve Healy, of the University of Queensland)

JustStandInfoGraphicV3The Sitting Disease

The term “the sitting disease” is commonly used by researchers and refers to the metabolic syndrome and ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle. We have become drastically more sedentary in the last twenty years, especially among the workforce who sit at their desks during the day, commute by car (or even trains and buses where they remain seated for most of the journey), and relax on the couch watching TV or on their computers in the evenings.

Standing is one of the simplest changes one can make to reduce the metabolic health hazards linked to sitting. Standing more is proven to increase energy, burn extra calories, tone muscles, improve posture, increase blood flow, reduce blood sugar levels and ramp up metabolism.

“Reducing the amount of time you sit – by even an hour or two a day – could have a significant and positive impact on your future,” says Dr Jacquelyn Kulinski, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine and a lead researcher in a recent study from the Medical College of Wisconsin which revealed that the health risks from sitting down cannot be entirely counteracted by exercise. Even if you do planned regular exercise you can still sit for many hours in a day.

Try this calculator to see how many extra calories you could burn in a day if you just swapped a few hours of standing for a few hours of sitting

Calorie burn calculator

We are almost conditioned to spend a lot of our day sitting, if a seat is available we take it – even if we don’t really want it or need it. I encourage everyone to try and spend a bit more time on their feet this week… and let us know how you go.

Ways to Stand More

  1. Walk more at work: Get off the bus or train a stop earlier,  use stairs not elevators.
  2. While computing, set a timer to remind you to stand up and stretch every half hour; take this time to pick-up and clean your work area.
  3. Stand up when you talk on the phone.
  4. Don’t send emails if the recipient is near; walk over and talk to him or her.
  5. Avoid long sitting commutes by standing on the bus, train.
  6. When watching TV, lose the remote; get up to change the channels.
  7. Stand or exercise while you watch TV, or just stand and move around during ads.
  8. During intense gaming, stand up in between sessions and screen loads.

From the Heart Foundation, Sitting Less for Adults: this document gives you even more ideas about how to stand more throughout your day and reasons you should be doing it.

What are you doing right now? Get your butt off that chair!