There has been a growing group of workers that have taken a stand at work. I don’t mean that they are “standing against the man.” I mean that they are literally standing up at work. The new phrase that is starting to gain traction “Sitting is the new smoking,” has gotten a lot of sedentary desk workers off their butts and on their feet. We all understand the less we do the more harmful it is to our health. But do we really understand how bad sitting is and how bad it’s become? Did you know the average worker is now sitting 5 hours and 41 minutes a day at their desk? That’s CRAZY!!

An endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, James Levine has started doing research on why some people gain weight why others stay the same. He started with a group of people and increased their calorie intake by 1,000 calories and did not allow them to exercise or change their daily activities. What he found was, the people that got up and moved the most were the most likely candidates to not gain weight and those that moved less, gain the most weight. Not a big shocker, right? Well, researchers are now looking into standing more at work and this is what they’ve found. Standing more at work and sitting less reduces you chances of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and here’s another biggie; lowers your long-term mortality risk. SAY WHAT?!?! Yes that’s right, the more you sit the chances are your life expectancy with go down, this is why, “sitting is the new smoking.” Now you want to hear something else that might upset you? Research shows that our old conventional exercise strategy of – Sitting all day at work, then hitting the gym or going for a run- “makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging,” says James Vlashos from the New York Times. Now honestly, how many of you are getting your 30 minutes to an hour of exercise in daily?

So what do we do? A good solution would be to try and transition from a seated position to a standing position. This is done by a standing deck. There are many new companies out there selling standing desks. I took a flight to Chicago this weekend and on the flight I looked through the onboard magazine and found three ads for standing desks. They are easy to find in all price ranges. But her are some things to consider when moving to a standing desk. Remember that your body is not use to standing, it has been sitting for a long time. So find a desk that can move up and down and you can make the sitting to standing transition gradually. It’s also important to find a desk that is right for your height, if you are a taller or shorter person make sure it can accommodate to your height. As you stand more and get stronger then look at changing your chair out for an exercise ball. The exercise ball will help you stay engaged and moving while sitting as well help with deep muscle development and balance.

Now here is another big issue that very few people are talking about. Right now everyone is loving the idea of the standing desk! Right? Doesn’t it sound great? Sure it does, but not if you have crappy posture! Don’t forget those aches and pain that you had sitting, they may not disappear when you stand up. Why? Because of bad posture. If you sit lousy and have poor ergonomics sitting, that’s going to translate in poor ergonomics standing. Make sure when you move to a standing deck that you stand straight, shoulders back, elbows at 90 degrees and have both feet on the floor. Don’t stand with your weight shifted to one leg or stand sideways at your desk. Otherwise, you will be trading one set of problems for another.

Moving from sitting to standing at work will make a large difference in your day. It will help give you more energy and keep you focused which will make you more productive at work. It will lower your chances at serious health issues…and as long as your family likes you, they will be happy about that as well. So people, start taking a stand at work, it’s in your best interest.

Dr. Nathan T. Eldredge

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