Make a stand - and become more active!
With the latest research confirming, that most of us, not just the obese and overweight, need to get more physically active to improve our health,
It raises the question of how we fit more activity into our daily life.
3-4 exercise sessions a week may equate to 3-4 hours out of 168, so what’s happening in the other 164 plus? As personal trainers we need to consider our client’s overall lifestyle to truly help them reach their goals. There’s the tried and tested tips such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the bus a stop earlier or parking further away from your destination and completing the journey on foot. All every well, but for most that might only allow extra activity at the start and end of their day either side of work.
One way to be more active during the day could be to simply stand up at work rather than sit! It’s becoming better understood that sitting for prolonged periods of time itself has many negative health implications - your metabolic rate crashes, your risk of heart disease increases and you can exacerbate musculoskeletal issues – in addition to the general contribution to a sedentary lifestyle. So using a standing desk rather than a conventional one offers huge benefits.
You can try constructing your own standing desk by utilising existing furniture, which can be a good way to trial it before committing to buy a purpose built one, but you need to ensure the height is correct. The desktop should be at the same level as or just below your elbows, and your computer monitor should be set to your eye level so you’re not looking up or down.
There are now sophisticated standing desk models available which not only allow fine-tuning of the height but are easily adjustable, allowing you to quickly swap between seated and standing positions depending on how you feel. As you can imagine being on your feet all day can get uncomfortable, but using a seat to take a break rather than the usual convention of ‘getting up’ to take one literally reverses the sedentary pattern we have become accustomed to.
Our Head of School Paul Swainson has been using a standing desk daily for the last month and feels more energised and productive as a result. “I’d always considered myself an active person as I train regularly, but when I counted up the number of hours I was sat down versus stood up or moving during the day I was quite surprised. Using a standing desk is an easy way to combat this and I’m now used to spending the whole working day stood up, with the odd 5 minutes sat down to give my feet a rest”.
It may look odd and take some getting used to, but with the trend towards getting more active gaining momentum, there could soon be a cultural shift in our work habits and we may see standing desks become the norm in the future - as they are in Scandinavia, where apparently 80% of office workers use one!