Why We Should All Stand Up
Amongst the many legacies of the covid pandemic is an increase in sitting. With many of us forced to work from home for long periods, and many of us still doing so years later, we have as a nation become more sedentary. According to a 2020 study by Ofcom, we spend on average 4 hours a day online, which we undoubtedly sit down for. Plenty more time is sent sitting on our bottoms when you factor in screen time, downtime at the end of the day, sleeping and eating. Here’s why it’s time to take a stand.
It might not seem momentous but standing up is one of the best ways you can improve our long-term health. when we’re sedentary, the body perceives it in the same way it does sleep. This low activity mode essentially means all important functions and systems, like digestion are shut down as they’re not considered necessary.
Neurologically speaking, standing has huge benefits simply by virtue of being more of a demanding activity for our brains. Even the very mild stress that standing versus sitting presents is enough to tax our brain better and help improve its ability to cope with certain tasks. According to one study by the University of California, sitting for extended amounts of time affects cognitive function by excessively thinning the front temporal lobe, the area in the brain responsible for forming new memories. In contrast, standing enhances blood circulation by bringing in regulating healthy blood sugar levels which positively affects memory function.
From a physical perspective, even the simple act of standing, rather than moving still has benefits. When you stand, your postural muscles engage, which helps prevent neck and back pain while your engaged core will improve balance, posture, and overall strength. Although it might not feel like it, standing also activates your muscles which means you’re also burning calories too. An adult will burn an extra 0.15 calories per minute by standing rather than sitting. And finally, standing rather than sitting is much better news for your breathing. “The seated position causes a lot of issues; neck and upper back pain, tightness and stiffness, as well as an achy lower back,” says Workshop founder Lee Mullins. “It also promotes faulty breathing mechanics because you end up being more of a chest breather than a belly/diaphragmatic breather.” The message? Get up, stand up.