It’s not the “sitting” or the “standing” but the DURATION – the length of uninterrupted time sitting in one place, or the length of time standing in one place, that is harmful.
The ancient phrase “all things in moderation” is good advice that also applies here. There are numerous research studies like the ones from the Diabetes Research Centre1, Mayo Clinic2, Cornell University3, British Journal of Sports Medicine4 that repeatedly show that sitting, uninterrupted, for long periods is associated with increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers (breast and colon).
Increase Your Life Expectancy
A recent study looked at the most current data available “from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys — a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. This survey examines a nationally representative sample of about 5,000 people each year.
This study went on to reveal that Americans’ sedentary lifestyle shortens their life expectancy. If Americans (and Canadians) would cut their sitting time in half, their life expectancy would increase by roughly:
- 2 years (by reducing sitting to less than 3 hours a day)
- 1.4 years (by reducing TV time to less than 2 hours a day)
From previous studies we also know that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers (breast and colon).
Physical activity seems to reduce risks by increasing insulin sensitivity, reducing body fat, inflammation and certain hormonal imbalances. So becoming more active also makes life — in general — healthier and easier.
Experts are beginning to agree that being more active simply means moving more during the day. So how can we fight “sitting disease”? Here are some thoughts:
- Stand more (set a timer and stand hourly)
- Change traditional video games into activity promoting ones — or buy an exercise video
- Walk while on the phone
- Get a pedometer and count your steps — increase from your baseline
- Take stairs up one floor or down two (consider more)
- The solutions seem simple, but the effects may be profound. In addition to increasing your life expectancy, you may lose a few pounds and stress less.” 2
Do you have ‘sitting disease’? By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. July 25, 2012 Mayo Clinic
How Height- Adjustable Desks Fit In
Height adjustable (sit stand) desks don’t cure all the symptoms of “sitting disease”. Exercise, good nutrition and other lifestyle choices contribute significantly. But, during those many hours of working on your computer, Electric Height Adjustable Workstations (EHAW’s) make changing your position quick, easy and often, with the push of a button. And that’s a significant step in the right direction.