May 24, 2017

How Often Should You Actually Be Standing During the Work Day?

Healthy Living

You hear it all the time: sitting all day is bad for you. A few years ago, standing desks became all the rage. But it turns out, standing all day isn’t so good either. So, where’s the happy medium? What is the magic number of hours to spend sitting, standing and walking throughout the work day? Read on to find out.

Today, the average office worker sits for about 10 hours, according to lifestyle expert Brigid Schulte. First, all those hours in front of the computer, plowing through e-mails, making calls or writing proposals — and eating lunch. And then all those hours of sitting in front of the TV or surfing the Web at home.

Kevin Weaver, a clinical assistant professor at New York University, says you should aim to stand for about four hours a day, sit for another four and switch every hour. If that seems like too much, consider this — most experts agree that the majority of people should be able to stand for at least two hours during an 8-hour workday. 

“Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting,” according to Gavin Bradley, director of Active Working, an international group aimed at reducing excessive sitting. “The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again.” 

Each time you do that, you are giving your body a “gravitational stimulus," reminding it of the effect of gravity, which can help muscles and bones stay strong. Transitioning your posture or moving around 32 times per 8–10-hour work day can help maintain a healthy blood pressure. 

So, what to take from all this? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t sit all day, only to come home and lounge on the couch. But don’t stand all day, either — give your body gentle breaks throughout the day. Take walks on your lunch break. Schedule walking meetings. Make that morning check-in a standing meeting. Walk around or stand up while you take phone calls. Every little thing helps.

Check out our easy tips for hitting that 10,000-step goal each day here.

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