Sitting all day at work isn’t doing any favours for our health and it turns out that standing at a desk isn’t beneficial either.
According to a recent report from CNN, based on a meta-analysis of 20 other studies in 2016, there was very little evidence to suggest standing desks or even treadmill desks had health benefits.
On top of that, CNN noted other studies have shown some desks were poorly designed and there had been no research to suggest that long-term, these desks were an alternative to sitting at one. One previous study from Harvard University even found people only burned an additional eight calories using standing desks vs. sitting ones.
Sergio Pedemonte, trainer and co-owner of Your House Fitness in Toronto said for anyone who sits a lot, standing desks aren’t the healthiest alternative, in fact, the best thing you can do is strength train two to five times a week.
“You should aim to target every muscle group at least two to three times a week, in order to make the muscles stronger, which in turn helps promote proper posture. Always remember to incorporating flexibility training at each workout to loosen the muscles and reduce recovery time,” he told Global News.
He also is a fan of yoga, adding often when we sit, our posture and back muscles suffer.
What are some good exercise options?
Start by a simple back squeeze. “This exercise can be done with a portable resistance band,” he continued. “Start by pulling the resistance band towards you and then retracting your shoulder blades and squeezing your back muscles.” Try three sets of 12 to 20 reps a day — it does wonders for the back.
Next, try a couch stretch. “This exercise loosens up the quadriceps and hip flexor muscles and can be done anywhere.”
Pedemonte suggested this video series on dynamic stretching, which are active movements of muscle that result in stretching. “This helps the body stay loose and flexible.”
Why you need to get up
And one of the biggest problems with sitting — besides it being so comfortable — is how much of it we do when we’re finished work. Most of us sit while we commute, either in transit or in the car, and many of us also go home and continue to spend our leisure time seated.
Pedemonte said this further creates hip tightness, rounded shoulders, a hunched back and tightness of the chest muscles.
“Make sure you stand up every hour for one to five minutes,” he explained. “When sitting back down, make sure you’re not leaning your neck forward and that your shoulder blades are retracted so that your back muscles aren’t rounding. These simple things will assist in getting your spine to be better aligned for improved posture.”