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Standing Room Only : Wiles Magazine

Standing Room Only

How many hours a day do you spend sitting?

What if you added up all the time you spend watching TV, sitting in the car and using your computer?  One study found that the average adult spends 50 – 60% of their day in sedentary pursuits. [i]

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When the Journal of Medicine and Science looked at the association of sitting time and mortality they discovered that even among people exercising daily, it was still the amount of time spent sitting that increased their risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.[vi]  More and more studies are coming to the conclusion that 30 minutes of daily physical activity is not enough to counteract the negative effects of sitting all day.

“Public health messages and guidelines should be refined to include reducing time spent sitting.” [vii]

The Simplest Way to Live Longer

Before you run out and quit your desk job, consider this simple solution: an electric Sit Stand Desk will allow you to decrease the amount of time you spend sitting every day while still getting your work done.  At the push of a button you can change your position from sitting to standing and potentially add years to your life.

According to the study “Sedentary Behavior and Life Expectancy in the US,” you can add 2 1/2 years to your life if you limit your time sitting to less than 3 hours a day.[viii]

If that wasn’t convincing enough, consider one of the first studies of physical activity at work.  1950’s London bus drivers were found to have a two-fold increase in their risk of coronary heart disease compared to their more active counterparts – the conductors who collected tickets.[ix]   Since then study after study has strongly and consistently associated time spent sitting with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.[x]

The Surprising Benefits of Standing

In addition to adding years to your life, incorporating standing into your daily work routine can offer these benefits as well:

1. Reduced Neck and Back Pain

Do you suffer from upper back and neck pain when sitting at your desk all day?  Office workers in Minneapolis took part in a 7 week study to determine the effect of using a standing desk for a total of one hour per day.  Participants reported a 54% reduction in upper back and neck pain.  Interestingly, after two weeks of not using a standing desk, the pain returned![xi]

Another study found a 32% reduction in lower back pain when participants intermittently used a standing desk throughout the day.[xii]

2. Improved Mood and Energy Levels

Participants in the Take-a-Stand Project were asked about the specific benefits of alternating between a seated and standing position at work after one month of using a sit stand desk.  Their responses were as follows:

  • 87% felt more comfortable
  • 87% felt energized
  • 75% felt healthier
  • 71% felt more focused
  • 66% felt more productive
  • 62% felt happier[xiii]

Office workers in another study who alternated every 30 minutes between sitting and standing had a 15% reduction in their total fatigue score compared to when they worked seated for 8 hours.[xiv]

3. Increased Productivity

If the health benefits are not enough to convince you to invest in a sit stand desk, then maybe this study looking at productivity will persuade you.  167 call center employees were monitored over a 6 month period and it was found that the users of stand-capable desks were 45% more productive on a daily basis compared to their seated counterparts.[xv]

4. Increased Energy Expenditure and Lowered Blood Sugar

To those of you still not convinced, using a sit stand desk is the easiest way to burn more calories with minimal effort.  In the study, “Standing Based Office Work,” the energy expenditure of office workers was compared following an afternoon spent sitting and an afternoon spent standing.  Participants burned an average of 174 kcal more when standing then when they were sitting.  In addition, the amount of glucose in participants blood after lunch was 43% lower on the afternoons they stood.[xvi]

The science is painfully clear:  too much sitting is literally killing us.  Type 2 Diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and long-term mortality have all been linked to sitting in isolation.  Even a healthy diet and daily exercise cannot negate the cumulative impact of sitting.  Why not try the most direct solution and spend some time at work standing?

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