Sit less, stand more

Sit less, stand more

It’s no secret that sitting has been dubbed ‘the new smoking’ – and for good reason. Research shows that when we spend too much time sitting, our risk of everything from diabetes to heart disease and even premature death, climbs.

Research also shows that this ‘increased risk’ applies even if you manage to get the recommended ‘dose’ of physical activity each day. In other words, being active for 30 minutes a day, but spending the other 23.5 hours in a sedentary way is bad news for your health. And unfortunately, statistics show that many Australians are spending about two-thirds of their waking hours sitting down.

The answer is to start sitting less and standing more – advice which is particularly important if your job involves a lot of ‘seat time’.

A good way to start is by making it your goal to reduce your sitting time by 10 per cent. For example, if you usually spend seven hours, or 420 minutes a day, sitting, aim to reduce that by 42 minutes. Once you’ve achieved that, look at reducing your sitting by another 10 per cent, and so on. How to do it? Use these tips to sit less and stand more when you’re at work, to make a start.

  • Instead of keeping a jug or water bottle on your desk, use a glass. You’ll have to get up more frequently to refill it.
  • Rearrange your work space so that you have to get up out of your chair to walk to the printer, rubbish bin and phone.
  • Set an alarm to remind yourself to stand up and go for a two-minute walk, every 45 minutes.
  • Consider investing in a desk that gives you the freedom to stand up while you work.
  • If you work in a multi-storey office, use the stairs rather than the lift. And when you need to go to the toilet, use one on a different floor.
  • Instead of eating at your desk or in the on-site café, head outdoors. You can either walk somewhere to buy your lunch or bring one from home and walk to a nearby green space, to eat it.
  • When you get up to make a tea or coffee, use the time it takes for the water to boil to stay standing or to pace around the kitchen instead of simply sitting there – every bit counts!