Live Well

If you want to stand up for something, how about better health?

So says Stephanie Howes, KPU's acting associate dean in the faculty of community and health studies. And she really means it.

“Most of us who have desk jobs spend far too much time sitting, and it’s putting our health at risk,” says Howes, an RN. “We need to get moving – even if it’s just for a few minutes several times a day.”

According to a recent study by the Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time is connected to a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome, the term used to describe the combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels.

People who spend too much time in a chair are also at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Stephanie Howes
Howes (pictured) believes recent post-secondary graduates – some of whom may be in the first career position in their lives – are especially susceptible to the health risks associated with too much sitting because they tend to work long hours trying to establish themselves in their profession.

“You can work hard without risking your health,” says Howes. “Get up from your desk at least once an hour, stand and stretch, and rather than send that important email, walk over to the person and tell them what you want in person.”

And take note, fidgeters: you’re doing the right thing. If you tap your foot at your desk or are just one of those people who can’t sit still, you’re less likely to be obese, according to a 2007 German study.

Prior to taking on her associate dean’s position, Howes worked as an RN and was always walking, bending and moving. Now she spends a significant amount of time at her desk and constantly reminds herself to get up and move around.

“It’s easy to lose track of time while you’re working on a project or answering 25 emails, but you’ll feel better, you’ll do your job better, and you’ll still make a good impression on the boss if you get yourself off that chair once in a while.”

She adds, “As you’re moving upward in your career, make sure you’re not moving outward at the same time.”


  • Park farther away from your office so you have to walk more.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Instead of emailing a colleague with an office near you, visit them in person.
  • If you want to have a meeting with someone, suggest doing so on a walk.
  • Track your movements with an app, such as Fitbit, which tracks your activity, sleep and calories.