I’m still standing – health benefits of standing vs sitting
We all know sitting is bad for you and that the benefits of standing are many. But what does your typical day look like? 8 hours of work? At a desk? Then head to the sofa to relax in front of Netflix? Even if you’ve managed to squeeze in a gym session, that’s a lot of sitting in one day.
Yes, it is as detrimental to your health as it sounds. Our sedentary lifestyle could even be slowly killing us! Here are five benefits of standing up once in a while. Each comes with an easy strategy that will help you take action without having to assemble one of those weird adjustable standing desks in your office.
Most people interact with this blog would love to lose a few pounds. Here is the simplest recommendation – sit less. Your entire body works to maintain your posture when you are standing. The leg and hip muscles are engaged, the back muscles strengthen, your abs contract to keep you from hunching. The main thing to focus on is keeping your abs tense and your shoulders back.
Obviously, the “stand up” workout will not burn hundreds of calories. Over time, though, they will add up – everything counts. What’s more, your balance and range of motion will improve. So will your posture.
A simple way to stand more is to go out for a walk after dinner, instead of retiring to the sofa. A long stroll around your neighbourhood is a wonderful way to reflect on the day. A relaxing walk away from your TV or laptop is the perfect opportunity to get some much needed time to yourself, instead of the distractions of an LED screen. It’ll also help you sleep more soundly.
Your body posture is one of the key non-verbal cues you give out to the world.
Fit and confident women stand tall and lengthen their stride. Their shoulders are straight and relaxed. They look up and project optimism and power.
Stressed and overwhelmed people hunch, they lift their shoulders, they collapse over their heels.
If you have great posture you look much slimmer and definitely more attractive. Unfortunately, juggling the demands of work, life, and family does not leave a lot of time to think about posture. Spending hours on end in your chair is not much help either.
What does help, is taking short stand up breaks.
At work, every once in a while stand up, walk around, go to the bathroom, go and talk to your colleague instead of sending an email etc. When you spend some time standing up, your core and leg muscles will tighten. Even if you sit back down for another 30 minutes you will be more mindful of your posture.
Over time, this helps you build the muscle foundation for a confidence.
Your Internal Organs Work Better
Humans are not designed for prolonged periods of sitting. The 9-5 office job is a fairly new invention. Your body is an amazing machine but you are not using it correctly if you spend a long period of time sitting.
When you sit, your blood moves more slowly. It brings less oxygen to the brain and cognition becomes sub-optimal. In extreme cases, the lack of movement puts you at a higher risk of developing a blood clot. Women who are sedentary have double the risk of developing a deadly pulmonary embolism over time.
One of the greatest benefits of standing more is your organs become aligned properly once again.
They can function best and you will feel your best. At home, consider a standing desk. While this might not be an option at your job, your home office should be suited to your needs. Think about getting one for your children as well as it not only prevents health issues further down the line. It can also help them concentrate better and for much longer.
Your Muscles Get In Top Shape
Over time, a sedentary lifestyle causes your muscles to seize up. If you are not using them regularly (during workouts and in your daily life) they lose range of motion, power, and functionality. This puts you at risk for injury and it makes training less effective. Even a great fitness program can be negated by sitting too much.
Besides obviously limiting time spent sitting, you can also look up exercises that reverse the detrimental effect. A couple of simple stretches after work might do the trick. I always encourage my clients to establish that habit. I have found that the ones who do have significantly better results.
And so the bottom line is – sit less if you want to be slimmer and happier! By taking steps to overcome your sitting habit you will improve virtually all aspects of your health and fitness. You don’t have to give up your lifestyle, either. Aim to make small lasting changes. Ultimately, they will make the difference and help you reap the benefits of standing.
Do you have any questions for me on this? I would love to hear from you in the comments!