The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

A recent Australian study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows the more you sit (over four hours per day), the higher your risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes.


‘Get up and walk around every 20 minutes,’ says personal trainer Lucy Wyndham-Read, ‘or just stand up and stretch. If necessary, set up a regular prompt on your computer to remind you.’

Practise desk-ercising

When you’re stuck in your seat, simple ‘desk-ercises’ are better than nothing. ‘Try marching your legs under your desk,’ suggests Lucy, ‘or do calf raises, leg extensions or buttock squeezes, holding for a count of 10.’

Take the stairs

Climbing three flights of stairs burns about 15 calories. Do that six times a day and you’ve worked off two Jaffa cakes! Regular stair climbing also improves bone density, aerobic fitness and levels of good cholesterol.

Walk and talk

Skip the conference room and invite your colleagues for a stroll instead (you can record any notes on a smartphone). Rather than emailing colleagues, walk to their desk to talk to them – and stand up to make phone calls.

Working from home?

Try a fit-ball

Replace your chair with an inflatable exercise ball to stimulate your muscles and improve your posture while you work. You’ll need to stabilise your position and straighten your spine constantly, which means you’ll stay upright, improving your core strength. (Make sure your work station is adjusted to fit the height of the ball so you can maintain good posture and protect your back.)