Gretchen Reynolds is The New York Times’ highly-respected Phys Ed columnist and author of the book ‘The First Twenty Minutes’, which looks at the science of fitness and reveals how small changes can make a huge difference to health, and she is particularly concerned about the ill-effects of sedentary working styles.
‘Sitting for long periods of time — when you don't stand up, don't move at all — tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles. You stop breaking up fat in your bloodstream, you start getting accumulations of fat ... in your liver, your heart and your brain. You get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you're moving.’
However, Gretchen also breaks the good news that preventing the damage caused by too much sitting doesn’t have to involve a huge amount of time, effort or transformation into a lycra-clad gym bunny:
‘New science shows very persuasively that standing up about every 20 minutes, even for only a minute or two, reduces your risks of developing diabetes and heart disease.'
'If you can stand up every 20 minutes — even if you do nothing else — you change how your body responds physiologically.’ she explains.
‘By standing up, you cause the big muscles in your legs and back to contract, which leads to an increase in certain enzymes that break up fat in the blood stream. You don’t have to jog in place or do jumping jacks. Just stand.’
Gretchen is also happy to reveal that regular standing up offers another, rather wonderful, bonus.
‘A very pleasant additional benefit is that standing up every 20 to 30 minutes also seems to prompt the body to burn calories, so you don’t gain as much weight from sitting at the office most of the day.’
So, what is the easiest way to ensure you stand up enough during your working day? An easily-adjustable sit-stand desk, designed specifically to get you on your feet and into the optimum position, naturally.