Sedentary job? Here are six realistic tips for standing up more at work

Sarah Spickernell
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Opting for the stairs is easy, quick and unembarrassing (Source: Getty)

Desk on a treadmill? A fantastic idea, if you have razor-sharp concentration and colleagues who don't mind the sound of running and panting. The reality is that for most of us, this is a fairly useless piece of advice.

Yet we have been warned once again that being sedentary at work poses a health risk. The British Heart Foundation says too many of us are inactive at work, since prolonged sitting is known to interfere with the body's metabolism, blood pressure and fat breakdown. If we don't do something about it, we are putting ourselves at risk of type 2 diabetes, cancers and heart disease.
A survey carried out by the charity found that 45 per cent of women and 37 per cent of men in the UK spend less than 30 minutes standing up during the working day – well below what is considered healthy.
But rather than splashing out on expensive equipment and setting yourself unrealistic challenges, here are some simple ways to help get you on your feet more throughout the day.

Take the stairs

Few people in the City work on the ground floor, so there's no excuse really. It doesn't take much time to climb a few stairs, especially if you're not far up, and helps avoid the push and shove of the lift. If you're based too far up for this to work, an alternative would be getting out of the lift a couple of floors early.

Walk at lunch

Don't go to the first food shop you can find and take your lunch back to your desk (via the lift). Take the opportunity to have a ten minute stroll, and you'll have a clearer head for it.

Stand at bars and pubs

If you nip out for a pint at lunch or after a day of work, opt to stand up or use a bar stool, even if chairs are available. It'll also give you the chance to talk to more people because you're not stuck in one place.

Don't email – walk over

In this computer-age, it's much easier to hide behind your screen than actually talk to people. That is what emails are for, isn't it? But you're missing out on a vital standing up opportunity by doing so, and you might find your colleagues respond more positively towards you if you make the effort.

Make more tea

Tea, anyone? You'll become both the office's most popular person and a healthier person at one – making a round of tea can keep you on your feet for a good ten minutes (if you brew the teabag properly).

Take walking phone calls

When your phone starts ringing, find an empty meeting room and pace up and down – it'll help you concentrate on what you're saying, too.

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