How long should I stand?

And the answer is…

We’re sure you have read many articles, posts and campaigns regarding height-adjustable desks. Lots of articles say they are the best thing in the world, and some others say they are a complete waste of time, and well some that make no sense at all (believe me, they are out there).

Standing desks have been around for years. The likes of Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill both used standing desks many many years ago.

So when did we get so lazy and sit down for 8+ hours a day? We are becoming one very lazy generation, being sedentary in school or in the office, to then going home and most probably sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea.

What if we told you, that sitting is the new smoking? ‘I WILL DIE FROM SITTING DOWN?!’ Okay okay, maybe a slight exaggeration and many people have taken this expression to new heights. No, sitting down won’t kill you, but sitting down all day, every day, has linked up with many health conditions.

Read below helpful tips about how long you should be standing for!

  1. It’s no secret, that sitting down all day slows your metabolism right down, because guess what? You are moving less! A slow metabolism will 100% lead to weight gain because you are not burning any energy sitting down all day.
  2. Weakening and wasting away the large leg and gluteal muscles. They are important muscles for stabilising the body. You are far more likely to injure yourself from trips and falls as well as straining yourself from exercise.
  3. Just like your legs and butt muscles, sitting all day will lead to your hip flexors shortening leading to problems with your hip joints. Similarly, to your hips, sitting all day can cause issues with your back as well, resulting in poor posture and leading to spinal problems such as compression in the discs.
  4. Being sedentary all day can lead to several health conditions – anxiety, depression, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis.

But, how long should we be standing for?

Because standing too much can but just as bad for you. I know what you’re thinking, it’s a bit of a catch 22, sitting for too long is bad for you, and standing for too long is bad for you. WHAT ARE WE TO DO?  Well, the only answer to the question ‘how long should we stand for?’ is…it depends.

We all have very different thresholds for standing. You have also got to take into consideration your individual health, fitness, footwear, posture etc. In my opinion, little and often is the right way to go about it, but some experts do say that you should get up after 20 minutes of being seated, and then stand for no longer than 8 minutes. But again, we are all unique and different so, it just depends.

Dr Joan Vernikos, a Director of Life Sciences at NASA, stated that the key element to good health is to make sure that we use and trigger our ‘gravity muscles’. She believes that the focus should be on the number of times you counter gravity, rather than the duration of the activity. Activities such as using steps and stairs rather than lifts, dancing, gardening, walking etc. Vernikos states that individuals should get up, move and alter positioning every 20-30 minutes to avoid the health conditions mentioned previously. So, get up and have a boogie in the office every 20 minutes, I’m sure you won’t get stares at all.

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