Perhaps one of the most eye-popping and important scientific developments on the health front has been the recognition that prolonged sitting is definitely hazardous to our health. Regardless of the amount of “exercise” you get over the course of the day – sitting for long segments of time comes with a host of adverse metabolic effects that boost your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and can completely negate any form of exercise you may have done. In one recent study, sitting for four hours straight completely erased any exercise a person had done. According to a brand new report, those who spent four or more hours a day playing or working on a computer or watching TV had a 48 percent greater risk of dying from any cause and a 125 percent greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke. As in previous studies, engaging in formal exercise did not appear to mitigate the adverse effects of the prolonged “screen time.” (Journal of American College of Cardiology, Jan 2011)
Thankfully – studies do show that regularly getting up from sitting, even for as little as one minute at a time, can help off-set the risks. Based on the critical new understanding of prolonged sitting as an independent, high risk behavior, I have recently converted to a stand-up desk. I have been “standing up to sitting” now for 6 weeks and am totally hooked. Amongst the many positive changes I have already noted are: total resolution of my former “daily” neck pain, better focus (the more you engage your muscles the better you can concentrate), and less sluggishness at the end of the day. Here is a picture of my make-shift stand-up desk. Google “how to make a stand up desk” for instructions. I plan to transition to a real one soon.