Standing up as a courtesy when someone comes into your office is not just good manners it’s also an excellent opportunity to keep fit!
Many of us these days spend a large amount of our working days (and often our evenings) sitting in front of a computer screen or a television. Recent research confirms what we probably already instinctively know, which is that sitting for long periods of time are not that good for us. But what we might not have realised is that even if we are relatively active at other times, it is the length of time that you stay continuously sitting that may be actually bad for you.
Typically in the UK the average adult spends at least 7 and 10 hours a day sitting inactively. That could be working at a desk, travelling in a car or watching television. Studies show that these long periods of sedentary behaviour slows metabolism down, which makes regulating blood sugar and blood pressure much less efficient. It’s also linked to an inability to break down body fat leading to becoming over-weight or even obese.
The problem it seems, is that even if you do take exercise after these long periods of time sitting down, you are still likely to be at risk, increasing your chance of becoming physically unhealthy. "Essentially, the body is 'shutting down' while sitting and there is little muscle activity," says Professor Biddle, one of the leading researchers looking into the effects of being seated for long periods of time. In his opinion "…all-day movement is now seen as being just as important for the maintenance of good health as traditional exercise."
Clearly there are some obvious ways to reduce the length of time you sit with very little movement. You could start watching less television or take more regular breaks from your workstation to do something else. But small actions like offering your seat to someone else on the bus, getting up or walk around when you answer the telephone or showing courtesy when someone enters your workspace by standing up will all help towards re-energising your metabolism.
Of course you can also offer to make the coffee, collect papers from the printer or even walk over to a colleague’s desk rather than calling them on the telephone or emailing. You could apply these ‘small’ tips to you home life too like making a point of getting up and moving about for a couple of minutes during the TV adverts, it all adds up.
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