…I SIT DOWN ALL DAY?
You may have little say on your office set-up, but you can soften the impact of a day spent on your backside. Here’s what’s up with sitting down 9-5
01 SEVEN-HOUR FIX
A day at your desk slows blood flow, causing harmful deposits to collect in your blood vessels, the Medical College of Wisconsin found. Fortunately, there’s no need to turn every meeting into a ‘walk and talk’ parody of The West Wing. Simply reducing your time spent seated from the average nine hours to seven (a lunch-hour workout and regular tea breaks should do it), along with a daily cardio commute, have been proven to offset any life-shortening risks.
02 BRAIN DRAIN
There’s a reason you’re so bloody tired – and it’s not last night’s Netflix binge. Sitting restricts blood flow to the brain, causing fatigue and poor focus. Flexing your calves under the table can help (University of Missouri scientists found this form of fidgeting had a notable effect on circulation). A chilled bottle of water will also help you rediscover your flow: the Uni of East London found 300ml can boost attention by 25%. Plus, you can pour it over your head if you’re really struggling.
03 CATCH A BREAK
OK, not everyone has time for an hour-long strongman session on their lunchbreak. But can you spare 10 minutes? Thought so. Prolonged sitting triggers a gradual rise in blood sugar, but a University of Otago study revealed a brief stroll immediately after eating has the biggest rebalancing effect, beating longer walks taken later in the day. In fact, just 90 seconds on your feet can reactivate the cellular systems that process glucose and triglycerides. Little and often, as ever, is key.
04 BACK IN BUSINESS
Most people subconsciously crane their necks when staring at a screen, which works the muscles three times harder than usual, exacerbating Britain’s neck and back pain epidemic. Prolonged sitting also switches off your glutes, reducing your power in the gym. Optimise your workspace by adjusting your monitor to eye level, then add hip flexor and glute-activation exercises to your mobility drills. Find tutorials on our website – just be aware of your posture while you watch them, won’t you?
05 REST SECURED
A note to those early standing-desk adopters who pointedly refuse to take a seat: sitting down does have some benefits, protecting you from joint pressure and muscle fatigue caused by too much time on your feet. But before you throw this magazine to the floor to cries of, “I can’t win!”, understand that the body suffers from maintaining any posture for a prolonged period. Aim for 30 minutes of rest following every five hours standing. A good excuse to book a cab home, we’d say.