A couple of years ago, news broke out that confirmed what health experts have known for years: sitting is really bad for you. Mild levels of panic swept the nation as people began to realize just how much time they spend sitting: getting to work/at work/home from work/at home, on the couch. So, intrepid innovators began to look for solutions to the sitting issue. Much of people’s sitting time takes place behind a desk at the office, so clearly that was the bulk of the problem. Following a stream of logic, experts began to look for ways that people could spend less time sitting while still being productive. The solution: the standing desk. Sounds perfect, no? But it turns out that the standing desk didn’t solve the problems associated with excessive sitting.
The Problems with Sitting
Sitting has been linked to not only a sedentary lifestyle but also the consequences of that lifestyle including deadly diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and even premature death. Spending so much time sitting is also an excellent way to develop poor posture and back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and hip pain.
The Problems with the Solution to Sitting
The solution to sitting has involved both standing desks and sitting desks. While it may seem like a good idea to stand rather than sit through your workday, the period of time that you do the most sitting, there is no scientific evidence to back it up. In fact, standing all day isn’t good for you at all and comes with it’s own set of health risks, like developing varicose veins. Also, most elderly and injured or disabled people are unable to stand for excessive time periods.
Studies on the efficacy of standing desks are pretty limited, but it seems that people need to be actively exercising during the day to make any real difference in their health. To combat sitting, you must stand for two to four hours a day, but most people only last for 30-minutes to two hours. And when people do get a chance to sit, actually sit for longer time periods than if they had a traditional desk.
From a physical standpoint, years of sitting probably mean that your posture while standing isn’t so great, and if you’re still looking at a computer screen, then you probably still hunch your shoulders and neck, causing pain and leading to problems down the line.
Because no one has come up with a way to work effectively while standing, the best way to counteract all the time spent sitting is to get in the habit of getting up and moving around on a regular basis. Suggestions for doing a circuit of your office range from getting up every 15-30 minutes, because walking only during your break just isn’t enough to offset the potential health risks incurred by sitting for extended periods of time.
To offset sitting or standing, or staying in any position, for an extended period of time, you must get moving. Using specific movements and exercises to undo the damage can help you avoid health problems, popping pain pills and unnecessary surgeries down the road.