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

Men's Health (UK) - - Agenda -


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.

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