Since the late 80s, I’ve stood at my computer much of the day because of low back pain. But once that pain subsided (see this blog post on what I did), I’ve been spending more time sitting in the chair on the right than standing at my desk on the left. Bad idea. A blog post published yesterday on Scientific American’s site is startling: Can sitting too much kill you?
There is a rapidly accumulating body of evidence which suggests that prolonged sitting is very bad for our health, even for lean and otherwise physically active individuals.
… both lean and obese individuals, and even those with otherwise active lifestyles, are at increased health risk when they spend excessive amounts of time sitting down.
… sedentary time is closely associated with health risk regardless of how much physical activity you perform on a daily basis. Further, it is entirely possible to meet current physical activity guidelines while still being incredibly sedentary. Thus, to quote researcher Marc Hamilton, sitting too much is not the same as exercising too little.
The author of the SCIAM blog post, Travis Saunders, has a 5-part series on sedentary physiology on the Obesity Panacea blog. See also: Feb 2010 NY Times, Stand Up While You Read This! by Olivia Judson;
April 2010 NY Times, Room for Debate: Is All That Sitting Really Killing Us?
This has implications in the fight against obesity and makes me wonder if those in charge of Northfield area schools (K-12, colleges) are considering the implications of this research.
"We separated the children statistically, who were in the overweight or obese categories, which according to the CDC, is greater than the 85th percentile in weight for their age-range,” says Dr. Benden. “We looked at the children in the standing classrooms and the same types of children in the seated classrooms which are ultimately the target of this effort, and they were burning 32% more calories than their seated peers."
Dr. Benden says the stand-up adjustable workstations come with stools and are fit for each students’ size and needs. The work stations also have dual foot rests, which Benden says, makes ‘standing’ at the desk more comfortable and easier on the feet. Not only does it make standing more comfortable, it also helps to alleviate pressure from the lower back. Which the study revealed, over time, improves posture… The study additionally reveals, students’ who use the desks are not only helping to burn calories, they are also improving stamina while building a stronger attention span. Research has also proved those adults who use stand-up desks can lose up to 20 pounds in a year!