Stand And Deliver

There is an easy way for family members who work from home to exercise and burn off an additional 52,000 calories during a single year – the equivalent to running 20 marathons! You just have to make one simple change – stand while you work on your home computer to avoid the dangers of sitting for eight hours a day.

Working at a standing desk helps you burn between 20 and 50 more calories per hour than if you were sitting on an office chair. Researchers from the University of Iowa, for example, found that people, who used sit-stand desks, stood for 60 minutes a day compared to their sitting counterparts. They also walked an additional six minutes per day while at work. The study also found that employees who used sit-stand desks burned up to 87 more calories a day. If you use a standing desk alone, and sit as little as possible, you could become significantly fitter and slimmer.

Standing rather than sitting is a bit more work, but brings considerable long-term benefits. Sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity, which is where standing desks come into their own. While you’re standing, you’re exercising. Your muscles are still working to maintain your posture and support your body.

Usual advice is to break up your sitting time throughout the day. That isn’t always possible when you work on a computer. That’s why, in some countries such as Denmark, companies now have to offer workers the option of a ‘standing’ desk by law.

In the UK, researchers are looking at the benefits of spending more time standing too. A pilot study at Grove housea primary school in Bradford, found beneficial effects from asking pupils to have lessons while standing up. Teachers noticed that children were concentrating better and becoming fitter as they burned more calories.

Switching to a standing desk can be tiring, initially, so start by standing a bit then sitting and slowly increase the length of time you spend on your feet. If you still only have a sitting desk, use proper ergonomic aids and stand every 20 minutes to move around – walk to the printer, go for a glass of water, stand for a meeting, and take the stairs when visiting other floors in your office building, rather than using the elevator.

A standing desk is also great for children and teens to use when preparing homework, after sitting in lessons at school or college all day.

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