The headlines over the last couple of years have been shouting that we are killing ourselves by sitting too much. With our inactivity being blamed for the obesity crisis, diabetes, heart disease etc. etc.
This information makes me want to jump up and scream “LET ME STAAAAAAAND”, but then I start typing and it is only when my bladder wants to burst that I realise that I have been sitting in the same position for the last 4 hours!
It is so stupid…it doesn’t cost me anything. I don’t have to drink any tablets, sweat, give up chocolate or drink any horrible green smoothies. ALL I HAVE TO DO IS STAND UP EVERY NOW AND AGAIN and I still don’t do it.
It seems that I am not the only person who struggles with this and researchers from Kings College London have tried to look at what methods are the most effective at reducing the amount of time people spend on their chairs.
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Interestingly they found that targeting physical activity is not an effective way to reduce prolonged sitting and that strategies that focus on how much time you spend on your chair seems to work better.
Provision of sit-stand desks at work. You can get a standing desk from around £466 on the internet - not a big price to pay for prolonging your life. But you can also improvise and place a box or books under your laptop so that you can stand and type for a while. Sit for 40 minutes and stand for 20 minutes every hour.
Encouraging people to keep records of their own sitting time
Setting individual goals for limiting sitting time
Using prompts and cues to remind people to stop them sitting. There are several free apps that you can download on your phone to help with this. Some of them are even clever enough to automatically detect when you are taking a break and when you are sitting.
I have downloaded Breaktaker to on my computer this morning…let’s see how it goes.
Update on Breaktaker: I can definitely recommend this programme for your computer. It is just annoying enough to guilt-trip you into standing up but not so annoying that you want to punch your screen.
I pressed the ignore button a few times to see if it would get angry with me and the response made me smile. I expected it to pop up within a few minutes and shout at me, but instead my next reminder popped up on my set time. The colour had turned to red, but it did not shout at me. It gave me a very encouraging message about how nice it would feel to stretch my legs.... I guess the designers are going for a passive aggressive approach!!
The messages did get more frequent the more I ignored it and to be honest I chickened out and decided to start pushing the 'thanks' button after a while to avoid turning my lovely assistant into an army major.