Stand Up For Your Health, Wellness Topic of the Month September 2015

by on September 8th, 2015


We all know that sitting is considered the new smoking. Continuous sitting both at work and at home can contribute to obesity and poor general health as well as a number of acquired diseases. This is why standing desks and treadmill desks have become popular. But is there any positive benefit of standing frequently throughout the day? Research has now begun to show that standing as compared to sitting can help reduce the negative effects of constant sitting. I have written previously on the topic of sitting too much (see “Don’t Just Sit There and Die” in the archive) but there is now a relatively robust data base for the contribution of standing for improved general health. Indeed, it is possible for most of us to stand at our desks throughout the day for either short or long(er) periods of time and, it seems, the longer we can do that-even in short “bouts” of standing-the better.

A new study completed at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia and published in the “European Heart Journal” (July 2015) has shown some remarkable improvements in cardio metabolic health benefits when sitting is replaced by standing even for short periods of time. These cardiometabolic benefits include dietary lipid(fat) metabolism improvements and greater glucose (blood sugar) reduction and control.

The study (called the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study) involved over 700 individuals that wore “posture-based activity monitors” to measure their movement patterns throughout the day. Those participants that spent the most time sitting rather than standing or moving had a 3% higher body-mass index (BMI), a larger waist measurement , higher triglycerides (blood sugar) and a lower HDL-cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”) level. As one might expect, those individuals that stood for periods of time rather than sit throughout the day improved their blood glucose levels, had lower blood sugar levels and higher HDL-cholesterol counts. Indeed, each additional two hours of standing instead of sitting throughout the day produced a 20% reduction in triglyceride(fatty acid) levels in the blood as well  as reductions  in blood  glucose and HDL-cholesterol levels.

It should be noted that even people that are comparatively “active” outside of their work environment can also benefit from increase standing during the workday.

For example, if one stands for 10 minutes each hour of an eight hour day instead of sitting, the reductions in blood glucose and blood lipids (fat in the blood) can be significantly reduced over time. Combined with regularly scheduled activities outside of the workplace  such as walking, running  and other forms of physical  exercise, standing at work and/or throughout the day when possible can be an important and effective adjunct to any fitness and wellness program whatever your current level of fitness may be.

…So “Take A Stand !” and feel better over time.

It’s a good way to get started on a new fitness program or to add it to your current program of fitness and wellness. If you have been sedentary for an extended time period, see your doctor before beginning any fitness program .

I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for September 2015.

Good luck with YOUR  program . I KNOW you can do it.