Monday, April 20, 2015

To Stand or Not to Stand?

Are you standing up while reading this? That’s good—but it could be even better if you also move every 20 minutes or so. 

By now you’ve probably heard about the many perils of sitting several hours a day, including foggy brain, weight gain, back and joint pain, unstable blood sugar, and even a shorter life. Check out this graphic from the Washington Post at 
to see how sitting can affect you. More bad news—it turns out that even regular exercise isn’t enough to protect you from sitting too much. This is why standing desks are increasingly popular. 
Standing Desk

“I’d never go back to sitting all day,” is often heard from those who use standing desks. Reasons range from having more energy (with no afternoon slump), feeling more creative, and enjoying better posture with less back or neck ache. Anne, pictured here at Hennepin County Public Health, agrees. 

“I think it’s correct to say we’re in the middle of a stand up movement,” says Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic and author of Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It . Any production worker or cashier can tell you that standing in one place for several hours a day brings its own health problems. But Dr. Levine says, “I don’t want people to think that they should stand up like still soldiers. That is not a good idea.” 

So what’s best? 

Try these tips that can work for both “sitters” and “standers:”

Avoid any static work posture, standing or sitting, for longer than 20 minutes.  
Use a fully adjustable sit/stand desk, along with an adjustable chair or stool, if at all possible. 
Move! Even small movements (swaying, rocking, stretching, fidgeting, or shifting your weight from side to side) can help. 
Think about your posture. Sit or stand relaxed, arms bent at elbows, hands level with your work surface or keyboard, looking only slightly down at your computer screen or work surface. 
Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other; occasionally rest one foot on a six-inch stool or platform (a cardboard box or books can work). 
Take a two-minute moving break at least twice an hour.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Use an anti-fatigue, gel-filled standing mat if possible, or try inner soles for your shoes. 

Try the stretches shown at this Mayo Clinic Web site:
Courtesy of Mayo Clinic.

Want more information? Go to for more information about becoming active at work.

Watch Natalie Morales’ (NBC News) interview with Dr. Levine at