I am sure you have all heard that sitting for long periods is bad for you, even if you exercise. According to the research, sitting up to 8-10 hours every day can:
- Increased the risk of death from any cause by 50 percent
- Increase heart-related issues such as chest pain or heart attack by 125 percent
Thanks to this information the standing work station was born. Problem solved.
Wait – What?
Not so fast.
Now researchers have discovered that standing for hours is worse than sitting for hours (I can see couch potatoes, around the world, sofa-bouncing their butts with joy).
Participants with jobs that required predominantly standing saw a two-fold increase in the risk of heart disease than those whose jobs involved predominantly sitting, especially among women. They speculate that blood pooling in the legs while standing and the pressure of the body to pump the blood back up to the heart, are factors.
Also, long-term standing jobs (for years) cause back and muscle issues.
This makes sense to me. As someone who has had jobs that require a lot of standing and jobs that require a lot of sitting – I can tell you that standing for hours feels a lot worse than sitting. Sitting for long periods may make you feel stiff when you stand up. But standing for hours makes you feel like you have been run over by a truck.
So now researchers say we should be alternating standing and sitting while we work.
What’s my suggestion for the healthiest job? Jack in the Box – sitting and standing is a requirement of the job and the standing part is always done with gusto.
Hopefully, employers will be aware of this researcher and make allowances for this.
- If your job requires that you the sit for hours, set your watch to go off every hour. Stand up and walk around for five minutes. Think about something other than the work you have been doing.
- Not only will your body appreciate this, you will be giving your brain a rest. It will help you focus and think more clearly when you go back to work.
- Also, go for a walk at lunch.
- If your job requires that you stand for hours, take sit breaks whenever you can (hopefully you have an enlightened boss). If this can be part of the job, great. If not, then when you are on breaks, do some light stretching while you sit and try to even put your feet up to reverse the blood flow.
- Now I realize people may be confused. I do have one other thought since now they say both sitting jobs and standing jobs are bad for our health. Maybe it is not the sitting or standing – maybe it is job that is the problem and we all just work too much.
Total sitting time and risk of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality in a prospective cohort of Danish adults, Christina, Bjørk Petersen, Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014; 11: 13.
The Relationship Between Occupational Standing and Sitting and Incident Heart Disease Over a 12-Year Period in Ontario, Canada Peter Smith et al, American Journal of Epidemiology, kwx298, August 2017