Image of Ernest Hemingway courtesy of Flickr under creative commons.
Are you sitting comfortably? Well you might not be sitting quite as comfortably as first thought because new research shows too much time lounging around can have a huge impact on our health. The second we plonk ourselves down we decrease our body's calorie burning capacity by 1 kcal per minute, similarly enzymes that break down excess fats in our food drop by 90%. Sitting also decreases our good cholesterol by 20% and can reduce our insulin uptake by 24% leading to an increased risk of diabetes. Those of us who spend our 9-5 slouching in front of a computer are twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than those of us in more active jobs, so here are our top five reasons to make a stand for the perfect posture in the post-posterior office...
1. Have 'walk and talk' team meetings. Moving around the office is an excellent way of stretching those legs and getting blood around the body. Not only that you'll burn a couple of extra calories and who can complain about that?
2. Sitting in a sedentary office often leaves us with bags of energy come bedtime. We toss and turn and our legs never quite feel ready to sleep, keeping the body as active as the mind helps us get the rest we need without having to count hundreds of sheep.
3. Ernest Hemingway used to write standing up believing it was an excellent tool in the fight against fatigue. Spending long hours focussed on writing and editing increased his creative output tenfold and he subsequently raved about the technique. Philip Roth also adopted Hemingway's approach standing at a lectern to write and pacing to think claiming a mile for each page of 'Portnoy's Complaint'.
4. Standing and straightening out your spine helps prevent back problems in later life. Ideally your head, neck and shoulders should be straight, it's much easier to achieve this perfect posture stood up than it is leaning back into an office chair - with a better posture you can fill your lungs to brim and straighten out your abdomen aiding digestion.
5. For sufferers of arthritis standing can lessen pain and delay the onset of more serious latter stage symptoms. It keeps joints active and encourages mobility leading to an improved quality of life.
So stand up for your health this week with a few simple office exercises and see how you great you feel.