Stand-up for better health

 

We spend so much of our lives sitting down, more so in modern times than ever before. It also seems to be addictive, considering how people rush for a seat on the bus or train after a long day sitting in front of a computer screen in an office. Yet simply standing-up can help improve health. Let’s remind ourselves of the benefits.

Why it’s important to “stand on your own two feet”

“Standing on your own two feet” has traditionally been the mark of when a person becomes self- reliant, but standing upright on two feet is also a defining human characteristic. Little wonder a deskbound or sedentary lifestyle can lead to unnecessary health complications.

Sitting for extended periods of time causes:

  • Tightness in our hip flexors
  • Leading in turn to potential spinal problems and a dip in physical performance

Yet there is a simple fix: spend more time on your feet.

How much time do you spend sitting each day?

To work out if you need to spend more time on your feet, count-up how many hours you spend seated every day. And reflect carefully if a typical day sounds like this after getting ready in the morning:

  • you sit down for breakfast
  • you sit down in the car or public transport on the way to work
  • you sit down at your desk
  • you sit for lunch
  • you return to work at your desk
  • you sit in the car or on public transport returning home
  • you sit eating dinner and then sit watching TV, gaming or just checking your phone before going to bed

This isn’t an unusual day for many of us, yet it means people designed to stand-up now spend most of their lives lying or sitting down, with negative consequences for our health.

The physical benefits of standing-up

Over time benefits can include:

  • more flexible and mobile hips
  • improving physical performance
  • reduce stress on your spine, meaning a smaller chance of lower back pain in the future

Standing-up can also improve mental alertness through improved blood flow.  As soon as you sit down, you start to switch off.

My view is most of the day would be better spent on our feet and would advocate stand-up desks in the office, but for anyone yet to be convinced do at least consider how to incorporate more standing into your life. Standing on the bus or train is a good place to start – and it probably won’t be too hard to achieve if your commute is crowded.

Start to stand-up for yourself. Make standing instinctive – the health benefits can be quite substantial.

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Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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