Sitting has been getting a bad rap lately, with some calling it the "new smoking" and others referring to the health risks of "chair disease."
For example, a study conducted at the University of Sydney, and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that adults who sit for 11 or more hours a day had a 40 percent higher chance of dying prematurely over the next 3 years compared with those who sat for fewer than 4 hours a day.
Dr. Amy Eyler, assistant professor of public health at Washington University in St. Louis agrees that too much sitting is a health risk. "The risks are there even if you took a 30-minute jog today," she says.
During prolonged sitting, the body basically becomes stagnant. "You don't get a chance to reset the metabolism by moving around, so it remains at a baseline level," says Eyler. And although the number of calories burned while standing up is not huge, the benefits add up over time.
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The experts say that if an employee moved from sitting to standing for about 3 hours in a workday, he or she could burn an additional 150 calories a day. Even factoring in weekends and holidays, that's more than 35,000 calories a year. Losing 1 pound requires burning about 3,500 calories.
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What would it take to make positive changes in the workplace?
Among other sit-less tips, Eyler recommends:
Tomorrow, we'll talk about new workstations that allow employees to sit or stand while they work—or even work and walk.
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