Keep it moving - the Key to SIT-STAND Health
In conversation with April Chambers, assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, her colleagues from Tufts University and staff from the Office Ergonomics Research Committee we offer you this guidance:
Sitting for an extended time at a desk at the office or in front of a screen is definitely not good for you.
Studies have found:
- Sitting more than eight hours a day with no physical activity was much the same as the risk of death from obesity and smoking.
- Too much sitting can also affect the brain. People who did high levels of sitting had less thickness in the medial temporal lobe.
- Alzheimer’s has been linked to sedentary behavior.
Stand up, sit down, move around!
Studies have shown those negative effects can be erased by daily exercise. A study of more than a million people found that people who, each day, sat for more than eight hours but also exercised for 60 to 75 minutes were not at increased risk for early death.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for two and half hours every week, plus muscle strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
Add a sit-stand desk into the mix
Until research catches up with scientifically based recommendations, Chambers and other experts in the field suggest trying these tricks to get the most from your standing desk:
Try to alternate frequently
What’s best for the body is not to sit or stand, but to move, Chambers said. Just the act of getting up and down burns more calories than sitting or standing. So try to alternate between the two positions as often as makes sense – an optimal choice would be every 30 minutes.
Of course, it’s easy to forget to do that. Some people use apps that set timers to remind them to move. Another suggestion is to stand up when you are doing activities that don’t require constant typing, such as when on conference calls.
Work on your posture
Consider an anti-fatigue mat
Not only can a cushioned mat help ease the strain of standing, some types come with a contour that can encourage you to move more. If possible with your job, listen to music while standing so you’ll move even more.
Try to stand after eating