In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

August 14, 2014

Sit. Now stand. Repeat.

By In the Loop

businesswomanstanding760To sit or not to sit, that is the question. We've brought you umpteen stories (roughly speaking) about the hazards of sitting all day, the benefits of standing desks, the importance of moving about, and other wellness topics. And we are here today to say, forget everything we've told you before. Well, not really everything.

There have been plenty of headlines over the past couple years about how sitting is slowly killing us. And it is important to limit the number of hours we sit at our desks each day. But a recent study looks into whether we truly have to stand all day or have a treadmill desk to counter the negative effects of sitting. According to this Gizmodo story, the study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings points out that every hour spent sitting reducing the gains of a daily workout by eight percent. But the very same study also notes that an hour of exercise can offset six to seven hours of sitting. We'll let you do the math, but in short, the study says go ahead and stay seated -- but just not all day, every day.

It turns out that standing all day isn't that great for the body either. Standing all day can cause knee pressure and varicose veins. (We're just going to lie down now.)

The researchers suggest that, really, whether you're sitting or standing, moderation is the key. And you should find ways to work exercise into your day. "Consider taking shorts walks during lunch and throughout the day, using a pedometer to track daily steps, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, hosting walking meetings at work and … park your car in the very back of the parking lot to increase your daily steps," Jacquelyn Kulinski, M.D., the first author of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings paper on sitting (and not sitting), tells Gizmodo. Or, if you're like us, during your break, take a brisk walk to the vending machine. Then, lie down for a minute.

Then exercise your right to share your comments below and this story with others using our handy social media tools.

Tags: Dr. Jacquelyn Kulinski, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Practice story, Sitting

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