Is Standing Worse Than Sitting?

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We know that sitting all day is bad for your health. But could standing for long periods of time be worse? Moving every 30 minutesĀ for at least one minute can reduce the health harms of too much sitting and sedentary behavior, and from any prolonged static posture (including standing) at work.

Have a job that requires standing for long periods of time? In retail as a sales clerk or cashier, or banking as a teller? You may be twice as likely to develop heart disease, as compared to someone who spends their days in a chair, at least according to a recent study from Ontario, Canada. Researchers looked at 7.300 employed individuals in the Canadian Community Health Survey. None had heart disease the start of the study, and researchers followed the group for over 12 years. Those required to stand for long periods of time had double the risk of heart disease (adjusted for age, education, marital status, body mass index and other health factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure), as compared to their sitting colleagues.

Why might this be? If you are I stand for hours at a time, blood can pool in our legs, making your body work harder against gravity to move it back to the heart. This in turn can increase pressure in the veins, which over time can increase your chances of developing heart disease.

These findings point to standing on the job as an often overlooked carddiovascular risk factor. Hopefully, you are in an environment that allows you to change body positions throughout the day. The fix for those who sit too much is not to stand for long periods, but rather to be active. Even walking one minute every 30 minutes should help reduce your risk. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.