Monday, May 27, 2013

Just Standing Around . . .

The Independent covers the latest health craze:

If you are reading this sitting down then the chances are you are also increasing your risk of developing heart disease, blood clots on the brain and even certain types of cancer.

The latest evidence suggests that being seated for much of the day can also increase your risk of developing diabetes. However, standing up daily for an extra 90 minutes significantly lowers your chances of developing this serious metabolic disorder.

A growing body of research is finding that sitting down for extended periods may be one of the most dangerous things we do and that the mere act of standing up – rather than doing physical exercise – is perhaps the best antidote.

. . . .

A study of two groups of men and women at risk of developing diabetes has found a link between levels of sugary glucose and fatty acids in the bloodstream – which are biochemical markers for diabetes – and the time spent sitting down.

The study claims to control for other forms of physical exercise, but I'm still skeptical. Had the study found a higher incidence of, say, hemorrhoids, back pain, or spinal problem among the chronically ass-bound, I would have thought the results plausible. But with the possible exception of blood clots and cancer, the medical problems identified -- heart disease, diabetes, sugary glucose and fatty acids -- sound to me like sedentary-people problems independent of time spent sitting.

Personally, I hate standing. I like to walk and run. But if I have to stand for more than a few minutes, I start to shift my weight from one foot to the other. A few minutes after that, I start looking around for a chair. If forced to stand still for lengthy periods of time, my feet and back start to ache, more than they do from running or walking, and without the euphoria that exercise produces to distract from other discomforts.

On the other hand, while I have a desk job, I'm seldom sitting for more than a half-hour at a time. Calls of nature and such. Or I just stretch my legs a bit. Maybe the ill effects start to set in when we really sit for eight hours straight.


heresolong said...

I've been reading about "standing desks" where your desk is high enough to do all your work standing up. Positive reviews actually. The people who reviewed and talked about them said that after the initial "getting used to it" phase, they found themselves going home at night more physically tired, but less mentally tired.

Anonymous said...

Even though I don't smoke, I have taken it upon myself to indulge in frequent "smoke breaks", just to get away from the desk and let my eyes refocus.

Does the study differentiate between sitting and reclining? There is a pretty big lifestyle difference between sitting at a computer terminal and laying on a couch watching Oprah.