Sitting less and moving more can have health benefits.
Standing up can improve your health, even if you don”t move around, says an Australian study published last week in the European Heart Journal. And even more if you walk around.
As reported on KSL.com, subjects in the study had lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels than other participants when they spent more time standing and moving around.
Among those who took more steps per day, even greater benefits were noted, such as lower body-mass index and waist circumference.
Research has been clear that sitting is not good for the body, but now we are finding that replacing some sitting time with just standing contributes to your overall health.
“The reason [standing could be good] is because when we stand there are many muscles in our legs and butt and abdomen that are working to keep you standing,” said Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, director of preventive cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “Whenever muscle is used, it consumes sugar and affects triglycerides.”
Currently, the U.S. guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise. Dr. Lopez-Jimenez says even that effort can be thwarted by remaining sedentary for long periods of time. He suggests that by remaining active during the day, you may be able to skip the gym.
But you have to achieve the correct balance of standing and sitting. Standing too long can be harmful as well. A regimen of sitting for 20 minutes, standing for 8 minutes, and moving around or walking for 2 minutes for each half hour is a good place to start. More time moving around would be a plus, as these are the recommended minimums.
That guideline would result in standing up and sitting down 32 times each work day, which by giving your body a gravitational stimulus, works muscles that also provide benefits to your health.
Lopez-Jimenez says we need to develop guidelines for sedentary behavior, as we have for sleep, calling for recommendations for how many hours to avoid sitting as part of the daily routine.