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Don't just sit on it, get on your feet!

Don’t just sit on it, get on your feet!

Are you one of over two million desk-based workers across Britain? If so, why not join the UK Public Health Network’s campaign to #SitLess and #MoveMore at work?

On Your Feet Britain

The On Your Feet Britain challenge starts on Thursday 27 April 2023. It is your chance to motivate and encourage your employees, colleagues, friends, family or even your boss to take a stand. The theme for this year’s challenge is: Wiggle it, waggle it, just don’t sit on it.

Why is sitting down bad for you?

On average, British people sit for 8.9 hours a day. According to international research, sitting for more than four hours a day leads to: disrupted sugar levels, your leg muscles switching off, reduced metabolic rate (calorie burning), an increase in insulin and blood pressure levels and the enzymes which are responsible for breaking down harmful blood fats shut down too.

These issues lead to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, back ache and muscle degeneration, says the Get Britain Standing website. You can calculate your average daily time spent sitting by using the sitting calculator on their website.

Why should I #SitLess and #MoveMore?

According to the On Your Feet Britain website, research has shown that regular movement throughout the working day leads to better health, an increased ability to concentrate, increased motivation and many other wellbeing and performance benefits.

Did you know you also burn 50 more calories more per hour when standing instead of sitting?

So, whether you’re still working from home, easing back into working life at the office – or a mixture – it’s important to develop good habits.

How to sit less and move more

We’ve put together some tips to help you sit less and move more, even while you’re working:

1. Take a break

Remember to take a lunch break, especially if you’re working from home and find yourself sitting at your desk for longer than usual.

If you’re back in the office, remind your colleagues to take regular breaks, for example:

  • Moving away from your screen for 5-10 minutes every 50-60 minutes
  • Walking between rooms, or up and down the stairs if you’re able to
  • Getting some fresh air, either in your garden or by taking a walk outside
  • Eating your lunch away from your desk

2. Stand during phone calls or arrange walking meetings

If you can, stand up and move around while you’re on the phone. If this isn’t possible, consider other ways to talk to colleagues. Walking meetings, whether you’re in the same place, or at the end of a mobile phone are a great way to get things done at the same time as exercising.

3. Desk-ercise

If you’re still struggling to get away from your desk, try these short stretching routines for your back:

Step 1: Start with a straight spine before rolling forward gently, come back up and bring your arms above your head to stretch up straight.

Step 2: A chest stretch can also help keep your back moving. Hold stretches for around 20 seconds and never push beyond what is comfortable.

4. Stay active outside working hours

If you’re working from home, it’s still important to maintain a healthy work-life balance once you’ve logged off for the day.

Get away from your screen and make the most of the lighter evenings by going for a walk or a run. How about going for a swim, the gym or participating in a fitness class? If you prefer exercising at home you could do a yoga flow or a fun dance workout on YouTube!

5. Set realistic targets

Keeping active can help your physical and mental health, so make time to move if you can, but it’s important not to overdo it.
Some stiffness and a little discomfort is to be expected when you start a new exercise regime, but if you experience pain, this means you could be stressing your body too much.

What are the benefits of Active Working?

Workplace experts have created Active Working which aims to help employers deliver the best active working solution for their workplace. 70% of sedentary behaviour takes place at work but by using the resources at such as standing desks, monitor arms or active seating, this can be dramatically reduced.

There are a variety of benefits to implementing more movement into your desk job:

  • An increase in productivity, job satisfaction and morale
  • An improvement in employee retention, health, safety, and overall wellbeing
  • A decrease in absences, lost time at work, workers compensation claims and back pain

Treatments and services at Benenden Hospital

Sitting down for long periods of time can result in many aches and pains in your body. For example, your neck becomes tense and tight, the muscle that starts at the base of your neck, goes across your shoulders and stretches to the middle of your back (trapezius muscle) gets strained, the discs in your lower back begin to bulge, hips grow weak, knee pain and sciatica develops, and your feet can become flatter.

Our experienced Physiotherapy and Podiatry teams are highly skilled at assessing the underlying cause of joint, muscle and nerve pain. It's easy to book an appointment online, via Livechat or by calling our Private Patient team on 01580 363158.

Published on 27 April 2023