Can Standing Up More Improve Your Health?
In addition to the problem of being a couch potato, there are plenty of Americans who are also desk potatoes. They sit at their desks for long hours at a stretch, which has a negative effect on health. Among the problems related to excess sitting are back and neck pain, tight muscles and slowed metabolism, which can sabotage your efforts to lose weight.
Research shows that sitting for extended periods can definitely contribute to health problems. People who sit for extended periods are more likely to be obese. They are also more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. Sitting also increases the chances of back and neck pain, especially if the chair and desk you use are not well designed from an ergonomic standpoint.
So, get on your feet – your health will benefit.
Standing Burns More Calories and...
There is some evidence that standing can burn about 200 more calories compared to spending the same amount of time sitting. Even when standing isn't burning more calories, it helps build muscle, which has a higher metabolic rate than fat. In one study, simply standing for part of the day also lowered the participants' average blood sugar and decreased cholesterol.
Standing up also increases the odds that you'll take more steps and allows you to get in some additional exercise. You can squat, perform yoga standing postures or lunges. These movements also help promote the return of blood to the heart as you contract the large muscles in your legs decreasing the risk of varicose veins.
Some individuals and organizations have experimented with the idea of standing or walking desks/work stations. You don't really need to go that far, however. Try standing up every time the phone rings, or pace around your office while you talk. Stand up to greet anyone who walks in your office (you'll get health benefits and a reputation for politeness).
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