Improve Your Health by Standing at Work

Improve Your Health by Standing at WorkSometimes small changes can pay off with big benefits when it comes to your health. Research already shows that sitting too much throughout the day increases the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and increases mortality even if you do a regular workout. When you stay glued to a chair for hours at a time, your body goes into “hibernation” mode as insulin sensitivity drops and your metabolism slows down, sensing you’re in inactive mode. At the same time, levels of enzymes that metabolize fat drop. Not to mention too much sitting puts you at risk for back and neck pain.

Most people don’t have an active occupation where they walk around a lot during the day or do a lot of lifting. If you fall into that category and you sit for most of your eight-hour day, you could be setting yourself up for health problems. Here’s a solution – stand up at work.

 The Health Benefits of Standing at Work

An exercise scientist from Chester University in England, concerned about the health risks of too much sitting, took matters into his own hands and replaced his desk with a lectern so he could stand during the day. His goal was to replace three hours of sitting a day with standing. He may be on to something. As he points out, standing for 3 hours a day instead of sitting burns approximately 144 more calories a day that you wouldn’t burn sitting in a chair. Do that every day, and you could lose a pound almost every 3 weeks without changing anything else.

Some people have taken it a step further by replacing their office desk with a treadmill desk, a work surface mounted on a treadmill. The work surface supports electronic devices like a laptop computer and has arm rests so you can type and write – all while walking. Once out of most people’s price ranges, the price of treadmill work stations are coming down. You can now get one on discount for under $1,000.

Stay Active at Work: More Brain Power?

Staying active at work has other benefits as well. A little leg power throughout the day sends more oxygen to your brain, boosting your mental power and keeping you more awake and alert. Staying active can also help you manage stress at work – and who doesn’t have some of that?

Other Ways to Stay Active at Work

If you’re not ready to get a treadmill work station, there are still ways to keep your body out of hibernation mode at work. Here are some tips:

  • Take a stack of books or blocks and elevate your computer so you can work standing up. Who says you need to buy a special desk to do this?
  • Do your “phone work” while walking around the building or going up and down the stairs. Never sit and talk on the phone. Cell phones give you the freedom to talk while you’re “on the go.”
  •  Take a brisk walk for part of your lunch hour.
  • Make friends with the stairs. Never, ever take the elevator. When taking a break, go up and down the stairs a few times.
  • Set a timer on your computer every 30 minutes as a reminder to get up and move around even if it’s only to walk up and down the hall a few times.
  • Activate your core muscles during the day by sitting on a balance ball instead of a chair when you sit.

The Bottom Line?

Something as simple as standing instead of sitting is a small change you can make that can pay off with better health. At the very least, be more active at the office.



Medical News Today. “Stand Up for Three Hours in the Office and Lose Weight”

Science Daily. “More Time Spent Sitting Linked to Higher Risk of Death; Risk Found to Be Independent of Physical Activity Level”


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