How Long Should You Stand – Rather Than Sit – at Your Workstation?

How Long Should You Stand – Rather Than Sit – at Your Workstation?

A growing body of research shows that prolonged sitting is hazardous to your health. It's not really clear why sitting for hours on end could be harmful. But researchers believe that habitual inactivity relaxes the largest muscles in your body. When these muscles relax, they tend to consume very little amount of sugar from your blood. This increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Other health problems you may be prone to include obesity, heart problems, and metabolic syndrome, among others. 


An average office worker spends between seven to 10 hours (or even longer) sitting on a chair. Besides the severe and chronic conditions previously mentioned, prolonged sitting has been linked to several other health issues. These include bad posture, spine problems, migraines, sleep apnea, poor blood flow, digestive issues, blood clots, and even depression. 


What Does Science Say


Recently, the British Journal of Sports Medicine recommended that those with an office job should stay out of their seat for a minimum of two hours per workday. Then, you should try to spend about four hours on your feet in some capacity. Then, you should try to spend about four hours on your feet in some capacity. This guideline came about after a panel of experts analyzed more than 60 existing researches focused on sedentary habits and health consequences. Alternatively, the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo suggests that you should stand at your workstation for about 15 to 30 minutes every hour. They added that the ideal sit-stand ratio for an eight-hour workday lies between 1:1 and 1:3. 


The research about sitting-to-standing schedules is still quite limited. Other sources encourage spending an hour of standing for every two-hour sitting. Others argue that it's best to alternate between standing and sitting at your workstation every 15 to 30 minutes. After sitting for about 30 minutes, your body's metabolism starts to slow down to as much as 90 percent. At this point, the muscles of your lower body begin to shut down from lack of use. As you can see, the human body is not meant for prolonged sitting. But studies show that standing for extended periods without breaks in between can be just as bad on your body as sitting. Regardless of these theories, the idea is to help your body work itself up to the schedule. This way, you can have time to adjust without causing any more stress to your joints and muscles. 


How to Find the Right Balance


Like most things in life, striking the right balance is crucial for your overall health. Alternating standing and sitting should keep your muscles working and your blood circulating. Don't wait for discomfort to set in before you change positions. If you can, walk more and change your mode of travel. Consider physical activities while standing at your workstations. Invest in a sit-stand desk and always take a break from your screen. If you're starting to experience back pain, there are exercises you can do to alleviate it. These include doing side planks, stretching your arms and legs, and practicing the prone and supine positions. 


Do you need more tips on how to embrace an active, healthy lifestyle? Visit ABQ Family Chiropractic today in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Call us now at (505) 658-0300 to book your appointment. 

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