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Stand up at work

If you have a desk-based job, sitting still for too long can aggravate existing aches and pains, and put stress on joints such as your lower back, neck and shoulders. It can also dramatically slow down your metabolism, causing you to put on weight. Evidence suggests that when you stand you burn up to 50 more calories per hour than when you sit for an hour.

It's recommended that you have at least a 5–10-minute break from sitting every hour. If your job is mainly desk-based, can you apply these changes to your working day?:

At your desk

  • You could stand up when you talk on the phone.
  • If they're available at your workplace, maybe you could try a standing desk which would allow you to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day to prevent you remaining in one position for too long. Remember that standing in one position for too long isn't good for you either, especially if your posture isn't good. Regular movement is key.
  • Set an alarm on your phone or computer for every 30 minutes to remind you to stand up and stretch.
  • Rather than emailing or phoning your colleagues, why not walk to their desk to talk to them?

In meetings

  • Stand up in meetings or during presentations – if you're a bit self-conscious about this, you could stand at the back of the room. Have a simple, but positive phrase about the health benefits of standing as opposed to sitting too much ready in case someone asks why you're stood up. This might motivate others to do the same.
  • Can you arrange standing meetings with like-minded colleagues? Or, even better, could you arrange walking meetings around a scenic area near your workplace?

During the day

  • Go for a good, brisk walk of at least 20 minutes at some point during the working day. This will get the blood flowing again, which will greatly improve the health of joints, muscles and other tissues.
  • Have micro-breaks every 10 minutes or so, where you stop what you are doing, even if for just 30 seconds, to have a good wriggle around and a stretch.
  • You could offer to make the tea round once a morning and once an afternoon.

The more often you get up and move about, the more it will become a habit.


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