It’s time to take a stand – at your office desk.
Researchers have found a link between too much sitting and an increased risk of developing a range of health problems including diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
If you have a sedentary job, one way to break up extended periods of sitting is to incorporate the use of a standing desk into your day.
By doing a combination of sitting and standing throughout the day, you’ll get your body moving and improve your circulation, oxygen flow, posture and metabolic rate.
Here are some tips to help you have more standing time at work (even if you don’t have a standing desk):
1. Don’t sit or stand for too long
It’s all about mixing it up, so don’t sit OR stand for too long. Standing too long can result in back, knee or foot problems. Do a combination of both to get maximum health benefits.
2. Gradually build up your standing
Start off by standing for 20 minutes, then sitting for 40 minutes and repeat throughout the day, then gradually build up. International experts recommend standing 2–4 hours a day in the office. Standing for the first hour in the morning and first hour after lunch helps reduce blood sugar levels after eating.
3. Wear comfortable shoes
When standing make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes so you don’t get any aches or pains. You could also use a comfort or anti-fatigue mat.
4. Find out what you prefer to do while standing
Experiment to find out what tasks you prefer to do standing up, eg, taking phone calls or reading and sending emails, and what things you prefer to do sitting down, eg, in-depth analysis or creative writing.
5. Think about your posture
To reduce neck and back pain and/or stiffness, make sure you have upright posture. Ensure your wrists are at elbow height or slightly below when typing, and make sure your head is up and that your vision is directed towards the top half of your screen.
6. Take regular breaks
Take regular mini breaks whenever possible. Set a timer to remind yourself to take a break from sitting. Try interrupting 30 minutes of sitting with at least 5 minutes of standing or 2 minutes of walking.
7. Stand up for conversations
Any time you’re having a conversation with someone, stand up. Similarly, try having a standing or walking meeting.
8. Walk over to your colleague
Rather than email a colleague who is nearby, walk over to them and have a chat.
9. Use the stairs
Instead of taking the lift, take the stairs to get your body moving (and improve your fitness).
10. Drink lots of water
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, which will also increase your need to get up and go to the bathroom.
11. Go for a walk at lunchtime
Make use of your lunchtime and go for a walk outside. It will get you moving and invigorate you mentally.