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The Standing Desk: A Healthier Option At Work

Dorathy Gass

According to researchers in Toronto, Canada, your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death can increase, depending on the amount of time you sit per day – even if you partake in a regular fitness routine. They came to this conclusion after reviewing data from 41 international studies. Excessive sitting can also affects your posture (as we tend to slump in our chairs), slows down calorie-burning, and can cause obesity.

“More than one half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television or working at a computer,” said Dr. David Alter, a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, who led the analysis.

So what is the solution to society’s problem of constant sitting? Some seem to think replacing your traditional work desk might do the trick. Enter, the Standing Desk. While standing desks were popular furnishing for the rich and famous in the 18th and 19th centuries, they have re-gained momentum recently due to their health benefits, and increased productivity within office environments. According to Men’s Fitness, working while standing up helps keep you focused during the day, blasts approximately 80 to 100 calories per hour, it increases your blood flow, reduces back pain, strengthens your muscles, and helps keep you effective during work hours.

“The health benefits are probably even greater than the data already suggests,” says James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., a lead researcher on the PLOS ONE study, and author of ‘Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It’.

So, if you are ready to take a stand, and jump into this new trend at work, the key is to start slowly. Begin your day at your new desk, stand for about 50 minutes, and then take a seat for 10. Set a timer if you feel like you will forget, or that the day may slip by you. These time sessions are really just generic. The general rule of thumb when you begin is to remember that if you feel uncomfortable, don’t wait for a certain time limit, simply sit down and take a rest. Follow what your body is telling you.

“People usually start standing all day, instantly, and that’s a mistake,” says Levine, who’s also co- director of the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University’s Obesity Solutions Initiative. “The risk is that your body will get worn down by working your muscles far longer than you’re used to.”

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