When I’m heavily involved in a task at the office that will take more than an hour, I force myself to get up off my chair and stand. My mantra has led me to take calls while standing and greet colleagues who “live” across the hall. That’s right – I’m proudly announcing that I have been doing lots of standing around at the office. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a workaholic and expect everyone to make the best use of work time. On the other hand, I want to be around for a long time to carry on with my workaholic tendencies.
This sudden obsession with standing was triggered after I came across a study conducted by Peter Katzmarzyk at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. Katzmarzyk and his team analyzed the lifestyles of 17,000 individuals over 13 years; the research highlighted that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack – men and women are equally at risk. This means that the chance of heart attack doubles if you sit all day even if you exercise and eat well. This is because sitting is an independent risk factor regardless of other healthy behaviors you may be involved in. Quite frankly, I had to stand and read the rest of the article.
If the statistics don’t fully convince you, how about standing to burn extra calories? That’s right; when you stand you can burn more calories and even improve posture, tone muscles and increase blood flow.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Socialize, stretch or visit the water cooler: Take a quick break every hour by getting up and stretching. If you’re in a cubicle like me and don’t want to attract attention when your hands are waving in the air with a stretch, get up and go to the water cooler instead. You can also try getting up and saying hello to your office mates. Standing up does not have to take you away from what you are doing or make you unproductive. A quick stand break is the goal.
2. Ditch the chair while on the phone. Get your body accustomed to the idea of getting up by standing while talking on the phone. Another option is to stand while reviewing work.
3. Set the alarm or mark it on your calendar: A common office chant is, “Is it that time already –4PM?” If you are so busy that you lose track of time, consider scheduling reminders on your calendar or phone. The idea is to make standing part of your daily routine.
4. Get a standing work station: Equipment such as Ergotron allows people to change positions, improve posture and stand while being productive at the office. Your human resources or safety department may give you a high five for introducing a new idea since this type of equipment is known to increase workers’ wellness.
The bottom line is that sitting for long periods can compromise your health. Don’t be shy about standing around at the office and making health a priority – if a workaholic like me can squeeze it in and make it a routine, anyone can do it.
This information was brought to you by guest blogger Claudia Montoya, B.S. Human Development and OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:
Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist