The Truth About Desk Jobs

By on June 27, 2014

stand-up and workWomen who are seated for 6 hours or more per day have a 37% higher mortality rate than those who sit for less than 3 hours per day. Not only does sitting increase our mortality rate but it also increases our risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and some cancers. The official term is coined “sitting disease”. We’ve become a nation of sitters. From desk jobs to streaming TV to electronic devices we spend an awful lot of time tied to things that keep us seated. has paved the way and created awareness around the dangers of sitting.

Postural rotation is the plan – the act of switching between a seated and standing position throughout your day. There are significant health benefits to standing more, like ramping up metabolic rates, caloric burn and blood flow, while stimulating focus, energy and productivity.

Experts on the Dangers of Too Much Sitting

“Sitting disease has a direct correlation to all cause mortality … We are essentially moving from chair to chair.” DAVID DUNSTAN, PhD, BAKER IDI HEART AND DIABETES INSTITUTE, AUSTRALIA

“In a 65-year life, we will have sat in front of a TV for over 9 years.” TELEVISION & HEALTH: WWW.CSUN.EDU/SCIENCE/HEALTH/DOCS/TV&HEALTH.HTML

“It is now irrefutable that sitting down is not a good thing. People die sooner.” James Levine, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic

“If you want to put that into activity levels then that would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year – just by standing three or four hours in your day at work.” DR. JOHN BUCKLEY, UNIVERSITY OF CHESTER

“Women who were inactive and sat over six hours a day were 94% more likely to die during the time period studied.”

“For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.” MARTHA GROGAN, CARDIOLOGIST, MAYO CLINIC

How Standing is the Solution

We don’t need a fancy pill or a magic herb because we have a quick fix. Stand up! That’s all it takes. Take a break and walk around the house, walk to the “far restroom”, or take a break and spend it standing. I know I personally workout 5 days a week so I was dismayed to find that this wasn’t enough. You can be active but still sedentary and that was me. I had to find a way to break up my computer time.

My Two Week Standing Challenge

I decided for two weeks to take the standing challenge. I continued my 5 day per week workout regime and added in random walks throughout the day. I added in 3 miles of walking per week just doing things I would normally do. If I was in mall I would walk to the far restroom. If I visited a friend I would walk instead of drive. At home I created a standing desk for my computer and forced myself to stand and work until I added an additional 3 hours of stand time every day. The result? I lost 2 inches in my waist and 1lb. While this may not sound like much it is important to note that I am 5’4 and I weigh around 119lbs. To lose 1lb is significant considering I made no other changes. For me it wasn’t about the weight, it was about the fact that I was creating a healthier lifestyle and extending my life. A non-measurable side effect? I felt happier, more energetic.

The Truth

The truth is that most people will need more than this article or awareness to change a habit like sitting. Our bodies are use to sitting, it is easier to type while sitting, and standing requires more energy. One alternative is a stand-up desk. They are not cheap. You can buy a stand-up desk on Amazon for over $300. Another option is the Focal Upright Workstation that puts you in-between a sitting and standing position.

What do you think? Could you stand-up to work?

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One Comment

  1. Shivettes

    July 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I’ve had the good fortune -or misfortune ;)- of working jobs that require me to be on my feet 8 hours a day. I also love walking. I think the trouble is, standing in one place can be rather taxing if you have nothing to keep you standing up. I’d recommend doing activities that require you to stand. Prepare your own meals, play fetch with your dog, karaoke!

    These all have one thing in common: they make you feel good!

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