Why you should monitor your sitting – and standing – time

Written on Feb 22, 2018

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By Delia Treaster, Ph.D.

During busy days or seasons– remember to get up and move! The health effects of prolonged sitting on our bodies has been well documented. Research shows that prolonged sitting is hazardous to our long-term health. A few effects of prolonged sitting:

  • Reduced levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL)
  • Reduce levels of fat-burning enzyme (lipoprotein lipase)
  • Reduced blood flow
  • Increased risk of diabetes by 90%
  • Increased risk of heart disease (3x) and fatal heart attacks (2x) compared to an active lifestyle

Prolonged sitting can even cancel out exercise. Two hours of uninterrupted sitting is all it takes to counteract the benefits of a 20-minute workout.

But standing all day is not the answer. Prolonged standing can cause swollen feet, or leg and back pain. It also can contribute to the development of varicose veins.

The solution is to reduce sedentary behavior and increase low-level physical activity throughout the day – both at work and at home. Try to get out of your chair at least once every hour. Get up and walk to the copier or printer. Even standing up for a couple of minutes can help counter the health hazard of prolonged sitting. Whenever possible, stand up and stretch for 30 seconds, every 30 minutes. Overcome the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle by breaking up prolonged sitting with movement.

Delia Treaster, Ph.D., is an ergonomic technical adviser with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. She can be reached at delia.t.1@bwc.state.oh.us or 614.202.3519.

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