Enhance your health, increase your movement, reduce your sitting

2013.5.8-Humanscale3734If you’re sitting more than six hours a day the evidence tells us that you’re really could be doing a lot of harm. What’s more you’re unlikely to correct it by going to the gym…so think again.

We know that if you sit for more that six hours:

the electrical activity in the muscles drops — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.

So how much better is standing than sitting:

if you stand for three hours a day for five days that’s around 750 calories burnt. Over the course of a year it would add up to about 30,000 extra calories, or around 8lb of fat.
….if you want to put that into activity levels, then that would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year. Just by standing up three or four hours in your day at work.”

Sit to stand desks are easier than running a marathon!

And exercise?…..30 minutes a day is generally recommended. However, recent evidence underlines the importance of also focusing on sedentary behaviors—the high volumes of time that adults spend sitting in their remaining “non-exercise” waking hours. The evidence is compelling for the distinct relationships between ‘too much sitting’ and biomarkers of metabolic health and, thus, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other prevalent chronic health problems.

So the evidence for how ‘harmful’ prolonged sitting can be on your health is growing and the take home message is that the gym may not be enough to undo the harm of sitting. The Department Of Health’s emphasis for good health being partly dependent on 30 mins exercise 3 times a week, could soon be a thing of the past being replaced instead with advice on preventing sitting prolonged sitting in favor of standing desks…

Come and try the best of them at Balance Performance…

Dr Lucy Goldby.

Br J Sports Med 2009;43:81-83 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.055269

To consult with Lucy on ergonomics, your set up at work, at home or when you are on the move call 02076272308 or contact via FaceBook or Twitter.





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  • Yvette August 16, 2014  

    Thiis website was… hhow do I say it? Relevant!! Finally
    I hav found something which helped me. Many thanks!

  • Floyd August 26, 2014  

    I am trying to stand up more at home but i read a lot and find it gives me a sore neck and back. What should i do.

  • JonathanLewis December 22, 2014  

    sorry for delay – the key message is to gain better awareness of both your movement habits through observation, and the alignment – how your body “stacks up” – you achieve, again through observation of how it feels. Does it feel effortful or relatively effort less, do you sense you are in a cramped, compromised position or an open and relatively “neutral” position. Neutral as in energy and pressure on your body – muscle, joints, fascia and your nervous system (you cant feel this directly but will feel the consequences – tingling, pins and needles, coldness, numbness, pain).

    As your observation of yourself improves your reading positions will become more diverse and less stressful.

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