Many of us do our best to stay "active" a few times a week, but it turns out we could be undoing all that hard work in the gym by sitting down the rest of the day after that hard workout.
It turns out that sitting for the majority of the day is actually very unhealthy. Several medical studies have shown that all causes of mortality increase from sitting, especially cardiovascular disease related causes. Even those that exercise regularly have a much greater chance of early death if they spend most of the day sitting.
Those that sit a lot are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack. The reasons aren’t entirely clear, but the enzyme lipase is believed to be involved. Sitting greatly decreases the levels of this enzyme. Lipase is involved in breaking down fat.
Here are some of the advantages many report after a few months of working while standing:
1. More energy during the day. With standing, the typical late afternoon drowsy period is largely eliminated. Many have reported reducing their caffeine intake. More energy can mean more work getting done, too.
2. Weight loss. Weight loss of almost a pound a week is typical. Studies show that standing burns an extra 60 calories per hour versus sitting.
3. Better concentration. Those that have started standing report that they are less likely to zone-out and daydream. It’s harder to lose focus while standing.
4. Sitting down feels better. Most of us that sit all day have nagging aches and pains related to sitting. However, after a long day of standing, it feels great to sit down at the end of the day – plus, no nagging pains from sitting too much!
Use these tips to help you get started:
1. Get a work surface that works. You might have to fiddle around with the height, but a good place to start is a couple of inches below your elbows. There are now tables and desks that can be adjusted to accommodate the greater height required.
· You can also rig up something at home on your own. Some people have even put their laptop on a crate that sits on top of a regular table or desk. Remember to try different heights – an inch or two might make a big difference in comfort.
2. Go slowly. If you’re not used to standing all day, your feet are likely to be sore at first. You’ll also get tired. Try standing for an hour or so. Then, if you’re tired, go back to working from a seated position. Slowly increase the amount of time you spend standing until you can stand during most or all of your working hours. This may take a month.
3. Consider standing on a mat. There are mats built specifically for workers that have to stand all day. You could also try standing on an inexpensive yoga mat or other cushioned surface. Well-cushioned shoes can help, too.
4. You don’t have to stand full-time. Even standing half of the day is much more beneficial than not standing at all. If all you can work up to is four hours, you’re still doing yourself quite a bit of good. Do the best you can and take your time.
It would be a great idea to introduce standing into your day.
Little by little, sitting down all day is robbing you of your health. Make the transition slowly. You can expect to get more done, have more energy and better focus, and likely live longer.
So stand up and get to work already... and enjoy the benefits!