“The average office worker sits a shocking 15 hours every single day. And people who have long commutes, even more.” Forbes
Sitting too much at work may cause chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and stroke. In fact, you may have come across recent news publications that go as far as saying that “sitting is the new smoking“.
All this news about sitting has then given rise to the standing revolution. More and more people are now standing at work to avoid the so-called “sitting disease.”
But a big question remains: Is standing really a lot safer than sitting? Are there risks to standing too much at work too?
The act of sitting itself isn’t the killer — it’s the lack of movement that comes with it. It’s being sedentary that places it within deadly territory.
For starters, too much time spent seated raises one’s risk for cardiovascular diseases. It also heightens a person’s risk of developing diabetes.
Scientists have found that sitting for over 10 hours a day elevates troponin levels in the body. These are proteins released by damaged heart muscle cells.
As such, chronically high levels of troponin mean continued damage to the heart. So, it’s no wonder people with sedentary lifestyles are at a higher risk of heart disease. And how too much sitting raises one’s odds of dying from heart ailments.
That said, does it mean standing at work is the answer? Maybe not.
What about standing for excessive periods of time at work?
Half of working U.S. adults suffer from back pain symptoms every year. Injuries, poor sleep positions, and bad posture when picking things up can all cause back pain.
However, researchers noted that standing for long periods of time is also a culprit. They found that people who primarily work on their feet also suffer from chronic back pain. Many also experience musculoskeletal disorders in their lower limbs.
Other studies have also discovered that prolonged standing increases heart disease risks. For one, because this posture can cause blood to pool and remain in the legs. This then puts greater pressure in the veins, leading to oxidative stress and cell damage.
Balance is the key to preventing the dangers of excessive sitting and standing time at work.
As you can see, both prolonged standing and sitting down are dangerous to your health. That’s why you’d want to avoid either by moving more at work and getting your circulation going. Simple things like walking and stretching your muscles during breaks can already help.
It’s all about keeping things balanced — if you have a desk job, stand and move for a couple of minutes every half an hour. If you’re always on your feet, change positions every 20 to 30 minutes and make sure to move around for a few minutes and rest.
Learn more about making the most of your work breaks in our blog about Active Work Breaks.
In conclusion, creating balance at work and taking breaks is key.
Use common sense to break up prolonged inactivity in the workplace. Standing in one spot for hours isn’t the solution to too much sitting. Instead, find a balance that rests your body, keeps you moving, and allows for breaks when needed.
The best way to evaluate your workplace habits is to hire an Ergonomics Company to assess your workstations. Staying proactive and educated about workplace practices with ergonomics blogs is also a great first step.
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