Why is sitting down all day so exhausting?

If you think back to your younger years, you might recall such scenarios as “but I’m not tired” and “I don’t want to go to bed”.  Fast forward twenty years or so and I can guestimate that a fair few of us can’t wait to put our feet up after a busy day at the office.

The human body is capable of incredible feats of endurance. We can run marathons, climb mountains and swim channels. So why is it, that we can feel exhausted from a day of sitting still at the office? Just typing a few queries into Google, we are inundated with people looking for a tangible answer. Why are we getting so tired when our modern office jobs require no real manual labour whatsoever?

Pre-existing medical reasons for fatigue (i.e. anaemia) aside, we decided to look into boosting our energy levels at Posture People HQ. Although fatigue is subjective to each individual, we wanted to try out some top tips and tricks to see if we collectively noticed a difference in our energy levels.

Can a more active workplace help?

One major change that we have made to our new offices is installing a standing desk for every staff member. When we are getting a bit too comfortable in our chairs, we stand up for around half an hour or so, sometimes longer. Coupled with some jazzy music, we have found this to be an excellent boost in the mornings or post-lunch.

The average office worker can sit still for over 15 hours

Studies are still ongoing into the medical benefits of using a standing desk. What studies have shown us so far is that prolonged sedentary behaviour for long periods of time can have adverse effects on our health ranging from heart disease to fluctuations in the production of insulin. Standing as opposed to sitting at your desk also increases the number of calories you burn each day, allows for a natural standing posture, improves circulation and get more oxygen to the muscles and brain.

Taking longer, more productive breaks

Especially true for us in the colder months, we tend to feel less inclined to cycle to work, or go for a walk after work. In conjunction with our standing desks, we have been making a conscious effort to exercise more. That doesn’t mean that we are all up at 5 am to do a pre-work circuit session, but we are making an effort to get some fresh air on our lunch break, go for walks by the seaside and taking regular breaks to have a good stretch.

Can’t stop yawning? Drink more water

If you find yourself yawning constantly around 3 o’clock, it might be caused by dehydration. It is recommended that the average adult should drink around 2 litres of water a day (dependant on how hot it is and how much activity you do). Fatigue can be one of the first signs on dehydration. Before you reach for a cup of coffee, try drinking some more water and see how you feel. We got a large water bottle for each member of staff and our water consumption has definitely improved!


Energy levels are not determined by our activity alone. In workplaces especially, it is important to look out for signs of chronic stress and other psychological issues.

In the first instance, high levels of stress and anxiety are often associated with a poor night’s sleep. Stress can also affect our breathing as we take shallower ‘chest breaths’. Opposed to breathing deeply, these shallow breaths leave us with less oxygen throughout the body, and the feeling of exhaustion, and lack of motivation.

If you find yourself taking work worries home with you, we have made this guide on effectively managing stress in your workplace.

By trying to get a bit more energized, we have all noticed that it’s been the bad habits that are exhausting us. Not moving enough and not taking enough time to reboot are having detrimental effects on our work and our wellbeing.

Even over the course of a week, we have noticed that we have consciously made a collective effort to chip away at bad habits, and have reaped the benefits already. It takes a while to change ingrained behaviours, but it has definitely been easier as a team.

If you would like to receive a monthly top tip on workplace wellbeing, then please sign up for our free tips.

Do you need some advice about your workplace?

Get in touch and one of our team would be happy to help answer your questions.

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