Imagine this: You maintain a healthy weight. You eat a well-balanced diet. You exercise regularly. You don’t smoke. You’re doing everything right.
Except this: Your job requires you to sit at a desk for hours each day. A recent study from the University of Chester in the United Kingdom found that prolonged sitting has negative effects on your health, regardless of whether you keep a separate exercise routine. Though the study looked at a very small sample size—only ten participants—the calculations found are fairly alarming. The study found that when participants were standing, their heart rates were, on average, ten beats per minutes faster than when they were sitting. An increased heartbeat also increases your oxygen consumption, which burns more calories—in this case, a different of about 0.7 calories per minute. The lead doctor on the study, Dr. John Buckley, compared this to the equivalent of running ten marathons a year.
So, what can you do to combat the epidemic that Runner’s World called “the new smoking”?
Try integrating these four easy fixes to get you on your feet:
- Change up your desk. Participants in the study used the Ergotron WorkFit Sit-Stand adjustable desk. There are several other standing desk options on the market, as well as simple do-it-yourself lofting options. To really up the ante, check out a treadmill desk.
- Take breaks. Make yourself move around the office for a few minutes every hour. Whether it’s a trip to the water cooler, a bathroom break, or a coffee refill, the minutes you spend moving around can add up to minimize your chair time.
- Pace your phone calls. Make a rule for yourself that anytime you have to take or make a phone call, you walk around your office.
- Walk during your lunch break. Rather than spend more time sitting to eat your lunch, pack food that is easily portable and spend your break moving.
You could even start wearing a pedometer and setting movement goals for yourself throughout the day.
What tricks do you have for standing up more throughout your workday?