If you’re sat at you desk, looking out of the window on a beautiful sunny day (ok, that may be stretching the imagination in the UK on the verge of a Bank Holiday weekend), you may be thinking “hey, im wasting my life here”…
Whilst you’d be thinking figuratively, the simple fact is that numerous hours behind a desk, simply sitting, could be doing real damage to your health.
Multiple scientific studies have found that the brain functions differently when we’re standing versus when we’re sitting. When we’re standing up or moving around, we store calories differently, our metabolism changes, and our brain in general functions more efficiently.
Research has shown that sitting for longer than six hours per day can have a major impact on your health, upping your risk for everything from cancer to diabetes. This is independent of your habits when it comes to exercise, diet and smoking.
Despite this research, many of us sit for hours and hours every day!
Sitting all day doesn’t just affect you physically. It also takes a toll on your mental health. Sitting for several hours can leave you with a much higher risk of depression symptoms.
So what can we do about this sitting epidemic? There are a couple of small changes you can incorporate into your daily work routine that can make a major difference on your overall health.
Walk or bike to work. If you live close enough to do so, turning your daily commute into a form of exercise is a wonderful way to reduce the time you spend sitting. If this isn’t possible, consider parking a couple of streets from the office or getting off of the bus one stop early and walking the rest of the way.
Take the stairs instead of the lift, and walk out to get lunch instead of eating in the canteen or sitting with a packed lunch.
Move during your breaks. Instead of taking it easy at your desk, grab a workmate and go for a 30 minute walk. If breaks are few and far between, movearound the office at least once an hour to get your body moving.
If you work in a on open and progressive company that is open to suggestions, ask about the possibility of sit/stand desk solutions.
If you feel like your desk job is taking an overwhelming toll on your physical or mental health, seek help from a trusted medical professional.