By Erica Moe | Get Fit
Are you reading this sitting down? Statistics show that you probably are.
Sitting has been equated to the new smoking. It is so harmful that your workout this morning may not make up for a day spent sitting. Seriously.
Sitting burns few calories and many studies link it to weight gain and obesity. A review of 18 studies found that if you sit, you have a 49 percent greater risk of dying earlier than those who sit less. To counteract this, try something different where you spend most of your day — at work.
Your best equipment investment may be your desk. If you want to alternate between sitting and standing, look for a product that accommodates both.
You’ll get bonus points for going from sitting to standing and standing to sitting — it’s like doing squats!
A study by the CDC found the use of sit-stand desks reduced upper back and neck pain by 54 percent. Interestingly, if the desks were removed, the pain came back in just two short weeks.
You don’t have to stand all day to reap health benefits. Reduce blood sugar after lunch by 43 percent by standing 180 minutes. Another option is to alternate between standing and sitting every 30 minutes, which can reduce blood sugar spikes by 11 percent.
Compared to sitting, standing for an afternoon burned 170 additional calories, which is almost 1,000 more per week!
Treadmill desk (what an oxymoron!)
Take it to the next level by not only standing at work, but walking at your workstation. Eighty-seven percent of those who had a walking workstation reported increased vigor and energy.
Imagine, if you walk four to seven hours a day, you’d use 500-1,000 calories. Being able to accumulate 15,000 to 25,000 steps per day and get your work done may be worth the $600 to $4,000 cost. A
s with any equipment purchase, be sure to fully understand the warranty and maintenance. The only con is figuring out how to drink your coffee without spilling it! Bonus: Eating lunch at your desk will be out of the question!
Standing or walking at your desk will guarantee, obviously, that you will sit less. And for those who sit less, benefits abound.
You may experience less fatigue, tension, confusion and depression. And you may gain more vigor, energy, focus and happiness.
Happiness? Is that possible? Studies show that employees actually enjoyed going to the office more. Endorphins make you feel good.
They showed a physiological response, but also a psychological performance boost, too. Quality of work, quantity of work and quality of exchanges with coworkers all improved.
So, standing at work is great idea, in theory. However, changing behavior can be difficult. If you have a sit-stand or a treadmill desk and don’t use it, what good is it?
Unfortunately, buying the desk doesn’t make you stand or walk. You are the variable that can increase your life expectancy by two years, just by using the right equipment to stand or walk at least three hours per day.
— Erica Moe, M.S. is an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist who writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA where she is fitness director.