You may want to sit down to hear this- on second thoughts, don’t. Never before in history have humans been as sedentary as we are this very moment.
We may have thrown away the fags in the interests of our health but now it’s time to go one step further: toss the chair. At least now and again. No butts about it: evidence shows that in terms of our wellbeing, sitting is the new smoking.
Is there a solution? How else are we supposed to do all our butt-glued-on–chair activities? From all-day desk jobs to tv viewing, internet browsing and car travel, sedentary is the order of the day. However, to avoid the impacts of cardio-vascular disease and diabetes, to name a few perils, you can’t afford to take this news sitting down.
Arise, oh chair-bound one. The time of your ascension is nigh.
And it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds, as I’ve discovered.
Da-daa: I'm currently trialing the standing desk and it's turned my life around... err, body around. Instead of feeling blobby and craving exercise I'm feeling taut and toned, without going anywhere. And getting lots of work done in the meantime. Hooray!
What’s so bad about sitting and
what’s so good about standing?
Prolonged sitting inhibits essential enzymes from processing fats and sugars, leading to undesirable health outcomes (such as heart disorders and diabetes).
Standing burns calories and processes blood fats. It boosts wakefulness and over-rides the afternoon energy slump. (see table at bottom of page for detail)
Just how many calories is that? A third more than sitting. Which can mean up to 50 calories an hour. Be upright 3 hours a day for 5 days and burn 750 calories. Over a year, that’s 30,000 calories, equal to running about ten marathons.
How much standing have I gotta do?
Sitting for uninterrupted prolonged periods is the culprit. The Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend we minimise the duration of our sitting and break up long sitting sessions.
We don't have to stand the whole damn day. Just bits.
What if I exercise regularly, outside sitting hours? Sorry, doesn’t help. To add insult to injury, those of us who exercise an hour a day and sit for eight are dubbed “active couch potatoes”. Thanks.
Be upstanding for the cool way out!
The Star of the Show: The Standing Desk.
My standing desk didn’t cost a fortune. Actually, it didn't cost a thing: I found it lying around the house. Like me, it should have been doing a lot more standing and like me, it’s been a while since it’s had a workout. Can you guess? It’s an ironing board! Take that, you fats and sugars!
The great thing about the ironing-board-cum-standing-desk is the ease of height adjustment. Tick for height and tick for length: being long, it’s perfect for spreading out your stuff. Now for a healthy gadget to accompany your brave new standing desk:
The External Keyboard Tip
If you sometimes feel your body is soaking up the electromagnetic rays of the laptop, get yourself an external keyboard and place it off to the side of the laptop (not in front). This geographical arrangement of screen and keyboard fits perfectly on the ironing board standing desk. Laptop up one end, you and the keyboard down the other. Body upright and standing. Fats and sugars gracefully falling away.
What sort of user are you?
Of course if you're mainly an ipod, tablet or phone user, you've not got the problem of a big hummy mummy pumping invisible rays at your chest. But be smart and rise to the occasion: ditch that chair or couch from time to time.
How does this startling information sit with you?
Are you standing up yet?
Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear from you, please leave a brief comment and/or hit the tweet/facebook icon to the bottom left. Thank you!
Sitting is the new smoking by Sarah Berry
Why the exercise guidelines take a stand on sitting
The Benefits of a Standing Desk
Calorie burner: How much better is standing up than sitting?