Stand Up to Sitting: The Finale!

THANK YOU!

We would like to thank you for all tuning into our blog every week and learning on how making small adjustments to your life, like sitting less, can have a huge impact! What have we covered over the course of our campaign?

  • We defined what sedentary behaviour actually is and found that it does not necessarily have to be synonymous with lazy! Even when I’m typing up this blog, hard at work, I am still being sedentary because I’m sitting down. Despite this, a key reminder is that the health risks are the same if I sit for too long!
  • We came to realise that sitting for long periods of time, particularly amongst the most active age group in Australia (18-24 year olds), is extremely common and it’s important to highlight this because exercising does not offset the detrimental health effects of prolonged sitting!
  • The detrimental health effects of prolonged sitting, which include a long list of short-term and long-term risks. This included poor posture which could lead to chronic back and/or knee pain, and increased risk of obesity due to inactive muscles, thus an increased risk of obesity-related diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It also has an effect on your mental health as well.
  • We addressed the potentially dramatised idea that sitting is a silent killer, which we later found to technically be true due to the fact that it is so widely accepted to be sitting all the time, especially when we’re working, travelling and relaxing!
  •  We explored some quick and easy tips that you can do every day just to cut a little bit of your daily sitting time!
  • We addressed how you can relax in a more healthy way, which included how to watch Netflix in the most healthy way possible.

We hope that you have learnt something from our campaign and even incorporate some of these small habits into your life. Happy standing!

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Being sedentary harms your mental health

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Anxiety and depression can be paralysing. It is common for people when depressed to be left with the urge to lie in bed all day so simple tasks such as cleaning their room becomes an accomplishment of the day. It is clear that people who are depressed may be more likely than others to be sedentary. How does lying in bed all day further catalyse their distressed mental state?

Researchers from Deakin University’s Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research conducted a systematic review of nine different studies that explored the link between anxiety and sedentary behaviour. Five of those nine studies found that sedentary behaviour is linked with a higher risk of anxiety. The systematic review suggested that being sedentary can intensify existing anxiety.

However, as the lead researcher of the study, Megan Teychenne explained, we do not have enough evidence to suggest the direction of the relationship between sedentary behaviour and anxiety.

“Our research showed that evidence is available to suggest a positive association between sitting time and anxiety symptoms, however, the direction of this relationship still needs to be determined through longitudinal and interventional studies.”

Exercising alone does not eliminate the risk of sedentary behaviour harming your mental health.

As mentioned before, meeting daily recommended physical activity guidelines of exercising an hour a day does not eliminate the risks linked with prolonged sitting. This includes the mental effects too, as a study found participants who exercised  still showed relatively higher rates of anxiety and depression symptoms than did workers who sat for less than 3 hours a day.

It is known that being sedentary all day can leave us feeling fatigued and out of energy, despite barely moving. Imagine this  behaviour accumulated over time in conjunction with already being physically and mentally drained.

It’s all about taking it slow and making small accomplishments each day.

A University of Georgia study found that low to moderate-intensity exercise had a 20 percent increase in energy levels on those who did not exercise regularly and experience constant fatigue. Surprisingly, the moderate-intensity group did not reduce their fatigue levels as much as the low-intensity group, 49 percent compared to 69 percent. Low-intensity would be considered an easy walk while moderate intensity would be a fast paced walk with hills.

“What this means is that in every workout a single step is not just a step closer to a healthier body, but also to a healthier mind.” 

– Leading researcher and co-author of the UOG study, Tim Puetz

What we recommend is making daily goals based on sitting less and moving more.

Remember, it doesn’t necessarily have to be intense exercise. If doing one chore every hour is enough to get you moving, you should try it! For tips on how to get moving more, check out our previous blog post for more tips.

How to stand with proper posture!

Today we are collaborating with The Dream Scheme on how to correct our posture.

Sleeping, standing and sitting are just a few actions we do every single day but we take for granted on HOW to do them properly. Over time if we disregard our posture, it only brings us pain in the future. The corrections are very simple!

I’ve been pushing the need for all of us to stand more! Just like there’s a healthy posture for sitting, there is also a healthy posture for standing.

The main aim to correct standing posture is for everything to be in alignment. Everything being your head, shoulders, hips, knees and mid-feet.

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  • Tuck in your chin a little so your head is not too forward or too far back.
  • Relaxed shoulders with your shoulder blades pulled back and your chest is up.
  • Don’t tilt your pelvis forward or too far back.
  • Standing on both feet with arches well supported.
  • Stand with POWER! What I mean by this is that you are actively adjusting your posture and not letting your muscles fall asleep.

Standing posture mistakes to avoid!

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Avoid text neck.

If you really have to look at your phone, raise your phone to in front of your face so you are just looking forward at your phone without having your neck having to bend.

Don’t lean on one leg.

It puts all the pressure onto your hips and lower back. Over time, this will create muscle imbalances in your pelvic area and could cause strain in your lower back and butt.

Avoid the Donald Duck booty!

This is when your bum sticks out and your lower back is curved

Image source for all images: Freepik

 

Netflix – the healthy way!

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When we relax, it is common to binge-watch an old show on Netflix or catch up on some trashy shows on TV (hello, Cake Wars). Binge-watching is becoming a less shameful activity than it once was, with people intentionally putting off watching an entire series so they can end up watching it in one go. This could be 8 hours long of sitting!

While it’s good to know that we are giving ourselves well-deserved breaks after long, tiring and busy days, how can we have a Netflix marathon in the most healthy way possible?

1. Take a break after each episode.

Don’t click watch next episode just yet… Simply get up for a drink of water, refilling your popcorn or making another snack. Spend 5 minutes doing some sort of brief activity that requires you standing up, and not going into the deep abyss of online shopping.

2. Exercise while you watch your favourite shows.

Skipped the gym today? Why not exercise while you watch your favourite TV show? There are heaps of infographics online that help you get moving by making it like a game? Find a huge list of different shows and exercises here.

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Got a treadmill? Why not spend a quarter of the show’s time walking on the treadmill? It doesn’t have to be an intense exercise, as long as you’re moving!

3. Tire yourself out before you start your Netflix marathon.

A gripping show may leave you sleeping at 5AM as you keep telling yourself “just one more, just one more…”  Not only does this compromise your sleep for the next week but it purely do the opposite of its intention – to relax. Sleep deprivation can intensify existing stress and mental issues thus potentially initiating a draining, unhealthy cycle. What can you do to unwind?

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  • Take a hot bath (less than an hour because lying in the bath is sedentary behaviour too!)
  • Designate half an hour to an hour reading a book
  • Spend 20 minutes writing in a journal. If you don’t want to physically write, there are also great apps like My Wonderful Days (lite) or Grid Diary (I really like this one!) which has preset questions if you never know where to start.
  • Meditate (however long you need based on your experience)

The importance of relaxation

It is widely understood that leaving time to unwind after or even during a busy day is crucial to both our mental and physical health. How so? As explained by Reach Out Australia, it results in the following effects:

  • Maintains healthy stress levels. Small levels of stress can be motivating while accumulations of everyday stress over time can be harmful to our mental health.
  • Better quality sleep, because you don’t carry the weight of the day with you to bed.
  • Improved memory and concentration
  • Improved mood
  • Lowers risks of other physical illnesses, such as stress-related illnesses like heart problems and dementia

Want to add years to your life? Sit less!

Quit smoking? Started hitting the gym more frequently? Time to add another healthy and positive change to your life! Sitting less!

I’ve discussed frequently the harms of prolonged sitting but what can we do about it? Thankfully, it’s really simple and you could seriously add years to your life.

Here are 9 life-saving tips from ASAPscience that will help you curb the deadly risks of prolonged sitting:

For every hour you sit, you are cutting off 26.8 minutes of your life. Basically, your chair is killing you. Everything is hurting you these days so does it really matter? There are global campaigns aiming to deter people from smoking due to the widely known health risks attached to it like lung cancer. However, every cigarette you smoke cuts off 11 minutes of your life? Let that sink it.

Sitting (1 hour) = 22.8 minutes off your life

Smoking a cigarette = 11 minutes off your life

This almost sounds illogical! LUCKILY, there are very simple ways as I’ve mentioned before to eliminate that risk and it can be as simple as just taking a 5 minute break every hour! Check out my 5 tips of how to get standing more here!

I’ve done enough sitting writing this blog. Maybe consider a dance break…

Standing desks: yeah or nah?

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Prolonged sitting does much more harm than good. (Image courtesy of

We’ve suggested before that you stand up more frequently by switching a few things up in your daily routine and take a 5 minute break every hour.

Instead of sitting at our desks, why not stand?

As the dangers of prolonged sitting have become widely known, people have attempted to resolve this issue with standing desks. Doing work is already a drag so why not be healthy while doing it?

The pros of standing desks

It basically reduces all the negative effects of sitting all day so it includes:

  1. Potential reduction in back pain that is caused from sitting poorly and a long period of time
  2. Reduce risk of obesity – Standing burns 50 calories more per hour than sitting, accounting for 30,000 more calories a year which is around 8 pounds of fat
  3. Potentially reduce glucose levels and risk of type-2 diabetes in the long-term – A study found office workers that stood 180 minutes after having lunch had a 43% lowered blood sugar spike than those that sat.
  4. Lowered risk of heart disease
  5. Improve productivity and mood – A  7-week study found that participants that used standing desks reported less stress and fatigue than those that sat down all day.
  6. Most importantly, it will significantly reduce the risk of premature death due to the linked risks of prolonged sitting.

The cons of standing desks

Despite the positive effects of using a standing desks, in order to make an informed decision, here are the potential cons of standing desks:

  • Increased risk of varicose veins, if standing still for a long period of time
    • Solution: You still have to remember to keep moving, even when standing up!
  • Sore feet (you’d know if you worked in retail that standing can be hell)
    • Solution: Comfy shoes or potentially in-soles if you have any issues with your feet, as it could potentially intensify any existing foot problems (e.g. high arch)
  • Standing desks are most compatible with desktops, as laptops reduce the distance between eye and elbow. Standing requires proper posture too, as you can see in the infographic below!
    • Solution: Treat yourself to a nice, new keyboard that can go with your laptop and standing desk!

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Where can I buy a standing desk?

 

There are plenty of standing desks options online but what if you don’t have room for a new desk? Don’t want to throw your old desk away? Why not try an adjustable mount to add on your existing desk! Or if you REALLY don’t want to spend any money, you can just put your laptop or monitor on a stack of books or boxes. Or why not try this hack?

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Kogan Height Adjustable Standing Desk Riser ($299 + delivery)
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Kogan Adjustable Laptop and Tablet Stand with Mouse Pad ($39)

5 tips that will get you standing more!

Exercising does not counteract the effects of prolonged sitting! Taking breaks and sitting less is the way to go.

Here are five easy tips for your everyday life,  whether you’re studying at home or at work, or just out an about with friends:

1. Have an hourly alarm to remind you to stand up and drink water.

This kills two birds with one stone – keeping you hydrated AND more alert. Also, drinking so
much water will probably result in a lot of toilet breaks throughout the day. I recommend the following:

  • Keep a 1.5 litre bottle marked by the hour, or even buy a reusable bottle that’s already done it for you.
  • Drink from a glass every hour so the following hour you have to stand up and refill it.
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Image courtesy of purplemountaindesign.com. It can be purchased here.

2. Try new places for lunch and walk there.

You don’t always have to stay in your surrounding area for lunch, even for coffee. How about invite a co-worker for a nice stroll to a new coffee place? Walk and talk!

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3. When waiting for public transport, stand up instead of sitting.

When waiting for a train or bus, you’ll probably be sitting anyway. So why don’t you reduce your total sitting time while waiting! If that isn’t possible, what about trying simply standing a few stops before your final stop.

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4. Get a pedometer – it doesn’t have to be fancy!

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Remember the free pedometers you’d get in cereal boxes? It doesn’t count if you shake the pedometer for your last 3,000 steps for the day. (Image courtesy of wisegeek.com)

It recently has been found in a study that smart fitness watches may not encourage weight loss, even impeding it. We must remember they aren’t miracle workers, just little reminders to ourselves.

The purpose of reaching 10,000 steps a day is simply to encourage people to move more! It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cram your last 3,000 steps by the end of the day.

You don’t have to put a lot of pressure on yourself. Test how many steps you get in per day then start walking around a bit more during the day as you start to take more breaks. See how much that’ll improve your total steps count!

There are plenty of pedometer options out there ranging from hundreds to zero dollars:

  • The classic little pedometer we’d get in cereal boxes – You can either dig up through your box of childhood toys or buy one online, like this one here for $9.95.
  • Pedometer appsPedometer++ via the Apple app store that doesn’t impact your battery life or Pedometer via Google Play which also tracks your speed and calories burnt!
  • Fitness trackers – Both FitBit and Garmin have a wide variety of trackers based on your goals and price range.

5. Stand up while you do your makeup in the morning, if you don’t already.

Our goal is to simply encourage you to get standing a little more, so even if it’s cutting down sitting time from doing your face! If you don’t put on makeup, why not try standing up while eating breakfast and if that is painfully boring for you, you can mount your phone and watch YouTube videos at the same time!

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