Stand! To avoid an early death

Many people unconsciously sit for prolonged stretches of time—in fact, Britons sit for a daily average of 8.9 hours. Yet that figure should not be surprising considering the amount of time many people spend commuting and sitting at a desk for work. Unfortunately, these prolonged bouts of sitting can contribute to the development of serious health risks.

Through more than a decade of research, health and wellness experts have discovered that sitting for even just four hours each day can increase your risk of the following:

  • Developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer
  • Increasing insulin production and blood pressure levels
  • Encouraging the degeneration of lower back and abdominal muscles
  • Lowering metabolism
  • Shutting down key enzymes responsible for burning off harmful blood fats

If you want to minimise the effects of too much sitting, try a simple alternative—standing. Standing naturally increases metabolism and blood flow, which could contribute to an additional 50 calories burnt each hour, or 3.6 kilograms a year.

In order to take full advantage of standing, convert your traditional desk into a standing desk by elevating your monitor to eye level and your keyboard to just slightly above your waist. Once your standing desk is properly organised, follow these four tips to maximise your new setup:

  • Wear comfortable footwear that makes it easy to stand for extended periods of time.
  • Adopt a relaxed posture that does not place extra strain or pressure on your hips, lower back or abdominal muscles.
  • Incorporate regular breaks throughout the day for stretches.
  • Walk over to a co-worker’s desk to discuss an issue rather than sending an email.

The transition to a standing workstation is quick, simple and highly beneficial. By standing for just four more hours a day, you could experience the following benefits:

  • Increase your productivity by as much as 20 per cent.
  • Reduce your work-related stress.
  • Lower your number of absences from work caused by illness or mental health-related issues.