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People Do Way Too Much Of This Bad Habit At Work Every Day

No doubt you’ve heard the results of some of the studies (they’re have been more than 20 published since 2008!) about the health impacts of prolonged sitting and potential benefits of standing to work. But standing all day may not be possible or practical either.

What’s an office bound runner to do? Options range from simple do-it-yourself solutions to state-of-the-art, stand-alone models. An ideal balance is a workstation or desktop unit that easily moves up and down (like this one), allowing you to alternate standing and sitting throughout the day.

But, if that’s not an option, or even if it is, consider taking a two-minute stretch, walk or activity break (jumping jacks, planks, push ups, eccentric calf lifts) per hour. Those two minutes will boost blood flow, endorphins and productivity. For the coordination-blessed, treadmill desks or standing at your desk on a balance board gets even more muscles firing.

Still need convincing? Check out these statistics from JustStand.org and MedicalBillingandCoding.org:

1. The average office worker spends about 7.5 hours sitting on the job a day.
2. Standing, even just a little more each day, increases energy, burns more calories, helps tone muscles, improves blood flow and increases metabolism.
3. People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as those with standing jobs.
4. Your heart has higher beats per minute on average (a good thing in this case) when standing—89 bpm versus 79 bpm.
5. You burn more calories while standing, an average of 3.3 per minute, compared to 2.6 per minute while sitting.
6. After two hours of sitting, good cholesterol drops by 20 percent.
7. Even if you exercise daily, you could still be considered sedentary—really! Standing, even for a quick stretch, helps counteract the effects of sitting.
8. You expend more energy chewing gum than you do by sitting.
9. Sitting for more than eight hours a day has been associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
10. Our bodies were designed to be upright, which, by my rationale, makes running more natural than hanging out in a chair!

Making the transition from seated to standing with these tips:

1. Wear comfortable shoes.
2. Pay attention to what you do best when sitting (reading spreadsheets) and when standing (phone calls, meetings).
3. If you start to feel tired, whether sitting or standing, switch positions.
4. To reduce neck strain, adjust the height of your computer display so that it’s at eye level.
5. Don’t neglect your posture—slouching can happen when you are sitting or standing. If you’re standing, be engaged but at ease, not stiff. When seated, try not to hunch and lean forward. Instead be relaxed with ears stacked over shoulders.
6. Even when standing, it’s important to move and stretch throughout the day. Walk and talk, fill up your water bottle, step outside for fresh air or walk to a coworker’s desk to ask a question instead of sending an email.

Allison Pattillo

Allison Pattillo

Allison played field hockey and golf while growing up, but always ran “just for the fun of it.” She completed and won her age group in her very first race, a 5K, when she was 26 so that she would at least know how to pin on her number before running her first marathon a month later. Those two races turned into dozens, from mile long sprints to ultras, running to triathlon with some ski and snowshoe racing mixed in as well. After earning a Boston qualifier and completing her first IRONMAN 140.6, this mother of two is now focused on seeing how much she can better her 3:48 PB marathon time, running the World Marathon Majors (Boston and Tokyo are in the books!) and tackling a 50-miler.