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Stand up for your health

Friday 06 Mar 2015
Stand up for your health

If you are sitting down while reading this, you might want to stand up!

Did you know we spend up to 80% of our day sitting; whether it’s in front of the computer, during meetings, on the phone, while commuting and of course, our favourite, in front of the TV.

There are an increasing number of studies linking this sedentary behaviour to increased cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and premature death.  The more you are sedentary, the worse it is for your health.

So what’s the problem with sitting?

The human body is designed to move.  When we sit for long periods of time, the large muscles in the legs stop contracting.  This slows down the activity of key enzymes involved in removing fats from the blood and reduces the uptake of glucose from the blood into the muscles.  As a result, blood glucose levels and triglycerides (harmful fats in the blood) increase and our metabolic rate drops.  When we stand up or go for a short walk, our leg muscles contract and metabolites are removed from the blood, helping to maintain healthy blood glucose and blood fat levels.

Benefits of Sitting Less and Moving More

  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increased energy
  • Improved concentration and productivity at work
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Reduced risk of neck and lower back pain and discomfort.

*Minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting and break up long periods of sitting as often as possible - aim to stand for 2 min every 30 min!*

Sometimes it can be hard to find enough time to commit to a longer exercise session.  Here are a few little tips and tricks you can use in your everyday life to sneak some extra physical activity in.

  • Use an active way of commuting to work – walk, ride your bike, stand on the train
  • Get off public transport one stop earlier
  • Park your car further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way
  • Walk up the escalators and use the stairs instead of the lift
  • Keep a small water bottle at your desk so you need to get up for refills more often
  • Stand up when you use the phone
  • Have standing or walking meetings
  • Walk to your colleague’s desk instead of emailing them
  • Set regular reminders in your calendar to stand & stretch
  • Walk around the block during your lunch break
  • Wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day.

 

Melissa Watson

Melissa Watson is a Health and Wellness Coordinator for Sonic HealthPlus.