It seems like nothing we do is healthy nowadays.
We’re not supposed to sit for long periods of time anymore; that was proven to be the health equivalent of smoking. The logical response is to do the opposite – or, stand more, some hypothesized.
But it turns out that’s bad for your health, too.
Researchers have found higher risks of heart disease among people who predominantly stood at their jobs, compared to those who sat.
“There’s a good body of research evidence that shows standing a lot, it’s actually bad for your health,” said Peter Smith, a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health.
“There are things like blood pooling in your legs, the venous return, the pressure on your body to pump blood back up to your heart from your legs, and that can increase your oxidative stress which can increase your risk of heart disease.”
The researchers pointed to occupations like cashiers, chefs, and machine tool operators, who are likely to stand for more than four or five hours at a time.
Their findings are predicated on a 12-year study involving 7,300 Ontario workers aged 35 to 74. They responded to a 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey, answering questions about age, education level, ethnicity, chronic health conditions, height and weight, shift schedule and smoking, and physical activity.
“If you allow people who stand a lot the opportunity to sit and give those breaks of sitting and standing throughout the day, you would probably do a lot to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease,” Smith suggested.
Regardless of sitting or standing, being sedentary is detrimental to a person’s health.
“The solution to sitting may not be standing,” said Dr. David Alter, a cardiologist and a senior scientist at the University Health Network’s Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.
“The solution to sitting may be movement. Insofar that the study sheds light on that, I think it contributes to our knowledge.”
Alter recommends keeping track of how long your sitting session is, and to vary your position at least once every 30 minutes. For general vitality, he advises adults should target between 150-300 minutes of honest, physical activity every week. Don’t overexert yourself, but aim to break a little sweat, and elevate your heart rate.
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