For at least ten hours every day, Mary Dalgleish is on her feet.
From her 6am start to 11pm bedtime, the 61-year-old therapist and teacher tries to sit down as little as possible: staying standing rather than perching on a chair.Even at weekends, Mary resists the temptation to sink into a comfy armchair, instead remaining steadfastly standing, giving lectures at a local college, going for long walks around the London parks with husband Pat, 59, gardening or even standing as she watches the TV.
Sitting for long periods is linked to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Standing is great for the body and mind, helping to fend off obesity, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, depression and some cancers.
Standing burns 50 calories more per hour than sitting and after just 90 minutes of sitting your metabolism slows significantly. Spend an extra 30 minutes a day on your feet, however, and the extra calorie burn could add up to 5.2lb of weight loss over a year.
Company director Sue Antiss, 49, has invested in standing desks for her staff. It was this alongside her lower back pain that made Sue investigate standing up at work.‘I found a company called Varidesk online and ordered one for £350. You put them on top of your normal desk, with your computer and keyboard on them, and can move them up and down.‘
Having one central bin in an office, rather than one under each desk, is helpful. Spend your breaks doing something active, not sitting in the canteen or at your desk.
But standing for significantly more of your day can present problems. If you stand for long periods without moving around, blood can pool in the legs and increase your risk of varicose veins. And if you wear unsuitable shoes or have poor posture, then aching feet, joints and back may result. So some people suggest investing in comfortable shoes with a supportive insole and no more than a slight heel. And remember to do calf raises, knee bends and circle your ankles to boost circulation.