Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. Many adults in the UK spend more than seven hours a day sitting or lying.
It’s recommended that we do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, but it can be hard to squeeze this in if you spend a lot of time sitting down at work.
Two members of our staff have introduced innovative ways of moving more at work, supported by our Trust.
Helen Whitelam is head of occupational health and wellbeing and has a ‘standing desk’. This equipment sits on top of a regular desk and allows monitors and keyboards to be elevated to standing height. She said: “I’d never even heard of standing desks until the moving and handling team, who I manage, had one spare. As it just goes on top of your regular desk I thought I might as well give it a go.
“Since I’ve been using the standing desk, I’ve noticed a lot of physical improvements. My feet don’t swell and my legs don’t ache at the end of the day. I do have the option to lower the desk and sit down if I need to but I’ve found that standing makes me more productive.
“Before I’d have to think about going for a walk to stretch my legs when I’d been sitting for a long time but now I don’t have to worry about it.”
Involvement and engagement manager Afsana Aslam often enjoys having walking meetings. She explained: “Walking meetings give me a chance to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk so it’s really nice to go outside and have some time away from my screen.
“As well as having a physical benefit, walking meetings also help me to compose my thoughts and solve problems. I find that I can be more open when I’m having a walking meeting as I’m not confined to a room sitting face to face with someone, so my mind is much clearer. We might get some funny looks sometimes when we’re on our fifth lap of the Fieldhead site, but it’s worth it!”