It's no secret that achieving fitness goals requires you to use every opportunity to get active.

Even when you're living a busy life and finding it a struggle to fit a workout into your packed schedule, there are several things you can do to make sure you're still getting the benefits of exercise.

With that in mind, we've put together a few questions and answers from Dean Hodgkin's interview with Men's Health magazine to inspire you to get the most out of your body – whatever your circumstances.

Q. What are the metabolic effects of sitting down for long periods?

A. A 2008 study published in Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports showed that if we don't stand, electrical activity within the muscles effectively ceases , leading to a drop of up to 90% in the levels of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that draws fat out of the blood stream for use as fuel, as it clearly isn't required.

This then leads to a higher concentration of blood fats that are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular malaise. Unsurprisingly, sitting probably only requires contractions of the small muscles in the hands and forearms – think computer keyboard, phone handset, television remote control, steering wheel, and these use up little energy when compared to the big muscles in the legs, buttocks and lower back. As a result, metabolism plummets, so calories are not being consumed but absorbed, a fact that will more than likely manifest itself in the waist area.

Q. What are the effects for your eyesight, your spine and the bags under your eyes?

A. Research at the Department of Optometry and Visual Science, City University, London, established that cycling, jogging and stair running had no significant effect on a range of visual functions that were examined. Since sitting usually results in assuming a poor posture, then repeated long duration bouts will lead to weakening of the deeper abdominal muscles, which, in turn, will predispose poor standing posture, with the end result being poor movement mechanics and uneven loading on the spine – the precursors to back problems.

Q. What are the effects of frequent late nights and grab-and-go nutrition?

A. Lack of sleep leads to reduced testosterone levels affecting energy levels, strength and libido. It is suggested that regular sleep deprivation results in testosterone levels equivalent to ageing 10-15 years. Unsatisfactory nutrition, i.e. bad snacking, can result in lack of carbohydrate that fuels your workouts and protein that is required to build muscle, so it will be hard to achieve results.

Q. How should one alter a lifestyle to atone for life dominated by work?

Take your breaks by walking to the water fountain (as well as the exercise in getting you there, H2O has known benefits to health also)

Stand whenever you are talking on the phone

Earn your coffee break by walking up and down the stairs a few times immediately beforehand

Schedule a five-minute activity period for both the morning and afternoon, as if meetings in your diary, and simply take a walk

You can still tone your abdominals, even if you can't leave your chair, by sitting upright with your shoulders drawn back, take hold of the front edge of the chair with both hands for support, now slowly lift your knees towards your chest

If you're downloading big files, use the time to get out of your seat and do a few squats

Have a stretch whenever you're talking to colleagues

If you're photocopying, try rear leg lifts

You can hold mobile meetings, discussing work matters while you stroll around the building or, better still, outside so you get the boost of fresh air and Vitamin D from the natural light

Even if you can't leave your desk, a few seated stretches will still bring benefits

Q. What can be expected as a result of the interventions?

A. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, around 100,000 new cases of breast and colon cancers each year are linked to sedentary lifestyles. In addition, a study at the University of South Carolina showed that people who were inactive for more than 23 hours per week had a 64% greater risk of death from heart disease when compared to a control group who were sedentary for less than 11 hours per week. Indeed, it's estimated that up to 100,000 people die each year from blood clots, and sitting in one position for long periods is the key factor.

Q. How much longer will you live as a result?

A. There are so many variables and then individual response to be taken into account. What we can be sure of, however, is there is now a raft of research to prove that being active will directly affect longevity.

If the information above has inspired you to get in shape, why not book a fitness break at Ragdale Hall? Please contact a member of our team if you require more information.

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