FitBits: Stand up for your health - it's time to move

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Monday, 27 March 2017

Stand up for your health - it's time to move



I stood at my desk all day for the first time a couple of weeks ago and despite my body protesting initially, by the end of the day I felt awesome.

My legs were tired, my feet were surprisingly very achey, and I had that satisfying rumble in my belly that I get from working out first thing.

My flexible sit-stand desk arrived this month and I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty brilliant.

After years of faffing about with boxes for makeshift standing desks, I've finally got my own proper set up thanks to Varidesk!


I've since got a new keyboard so the laptop is at eye level, don't worry... 



Those who've worked with me before will understand the significance of this moment. I don't know if it's just me, (please tell me it isn't?!), but every marathon cycle, and basically whenever I'm training a lot, sitting down for eight hours a day physically HURTS.

As in literally pains me. My hips hate it. My hamstrings hate it. My glutes hate it. It's literally a pain in the arse.

I need to stand up at regular intervals to avoid seizing up. Stop - drop - pigeon pose has occurred on various office chairs and floors throughout my office working career, as I dream of a lunchtime run or yoga to energise and unwind my tangled body.

Impromptu chair-assisted pigeon pose before my Varidesk arrived :) 


I like to think I'm pretty fit and healthy. I exercise regularly, try to eat well most of the time (ish), and when aiming for a big goal like the marathon I try to prioritise my sleep, rest and recovery.

My marathon training hasn't gone wholly to plan this year and I'm carrying a bit of extra weight but let's be honest - even if I'm running the prescribed three or four times per week and strength training once or twice a week - that's still at most one or two hours a day of activity, apart from the long run of anything between two to three and a bit hours.

The rest of my day is spent on my bum, regardless, and it's got to change. Stay tuned for more posts on the Varidesk as I get to know it a bit more...


Time to move


And then there's lunchtimes. If you work in an office, what do you do on your lunch breaks?

I know when I'm busy I basically move from one desk to another from the office to the cafe upstairs and sit to eat before going back down to sit again until hometime.

Recently Brooks Running released findings from an independent study revealing just how inactive UK workers really are, with the average person spending four hours 26 minutes sitting at their desk per day, (yeah, and the rest!) and 23% spend a massive seven hours or more sat down at work. (GUILTY)

Pitiful total step count by 17.30 on one day last month


Eight out of 10 say they have a daily afternoon dip and to escape this, 66% of workers reach for coffee, 42% eat chocolate and 10% even admit to taking a nap while at work. To be fair, I'm right there on the coffee and chocolate but not sure I'd get away with a nap - what sort of career witchcraft is this??

Experts agree that a run break (or runch) is a much better alternative to any of these options, and I have to admit, as much as I love a morning workout to kickstart my day, on the few occasions where I've been organised enough to grab a lunchtime run, it's always been the best kind of fuel for a productive and energised afternoon.



Brooks realise the challenges to beat the afternoon slump and get out for a run break, so have teamed up with personal trainers across the country to help people get up, out and running during the working day.

“Incorporating a run break will make a massive difference to your working day,” says Graeme Hilditch, personal trainer at GH Training. “We all have those moments when we feel sluggish or tired during the day, or we simply want to escape the pressures of the daily grind."

I'll be the first one to shout about the virtues of a good run in changing my mood, however tired I am, and ironically when we're at our most tired is probably the time when a lovely 30min run in the open air will do us the most good.

It doesn't matter how busy we are, we should always make time to get away from our desk and get outside - whether that's a run or walk. Something I've been working on this last few weeks as much as I can.

So with that in mind, I asked Brooks and Graeme to give a few tips to help get us organised and lift us out of the lunchtime lull...


  
Prepare
No one wants to skip lunch, so make sure you prepare your lunch in advance of your midday run. By having your lunch ready to eat it means there’s no need to go out and get it, saving you time and leaving you with more time to run. (GUIILLTYYYYY)


Buddy Up

By running with a colleague who is under similar time restraints, you’ll be far more motivated to get organised and will procrastinate far less. There’s nothing quite like the worry of letting someone else down to help focus the mind and stick to a strict time schedule. (true dat!)



 

Intervals

To get maximum benefit from your run, why not do some intervals for your 30-40 mins session rather than just a steady pace? 

Interval training, for example running fast for 3-6mins, jogging slowly 1min etc., packs a huge fitness punch and will not only make you feel incredible afterwards but it’s also the best way to torch a load of calories. (Can personally vouch for baddassery of intervals)


Set targets

Another way to increase the intensity of your lunchtime run and help save time is to set yourself certain goals on your lunchtime training run. For example, if you run in a park, set yourself a time limit of 30minutes, then the goal of sprinting to one bench, then jog to the next one. Over time, see if you can beat the number of benches you run past in the 30 minutes.



If you do head out for a runch this month, maybe check out the latest Brooks release, the Ravenna 8, designed to put more spring in every step with dynamic responsive cushioning and an updated design.

I've yet to try these as I've been running in the Ghosts and Glycerins, but will be giving them a go at the Brooks Run Signature Tour when it comes to Brighton next Saturday.

The tour is back with 15 locations across the country so if you fancy a free gait analysis and run in the latest pair of Brooks shoes to see if they're for you, find your nearest one and book in.

Worth a try, right?


Thanks to Brooks Running for sharing research to input into this post. 
Thanks also to Varidesk for sending me a standing desk to review - I'll write more about this soon, lots to tell you about my new favourite way to work!! 


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Have you tried a standing desk? Do you treat yourself to regular lunchtime run breaks?

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