News / Health

Health Concerns Push Sedentary Office Workers to Their Feet

Health Concerns Push Sedentary Office Workers to Their Feeti
X
May 29, 2014 9:46 PM
We spend far too much time each day sitting. Whether it's on the couch watching TV, at our computers or just driving to work, new research indicates that sitting is bad for our health. But the cure is easy. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, what will make you feel better and be more productive is to simply stand up and put a few new steps into your day.
Rosanne Skirble
You can’t tell by looking at her, but Michelle Baxter suffers from chronic pain in her muscles and joints. She now spends her work day standing at her desk as a remedy for fibromyalgia.   

"Since I’ve been standing my lower lumbar feels much better and, plus, I get to exercise and move more and to have everything circulate in the blood," she said. "It feels good."

Baxter works with student records at the George Washington University in the nation’s capital. Her switch to a standing desk has given her more energy and made her more productive.

“I can get more done, not even [having to be] stiff and get up and trying to find a place to exercise," she said. "So I’m moving, I’m exercising as I’m standing.”  

And she is burning as many as 1,200 calories a day. That's one reason standing desks are slowly moving into cramped cubicles.

Research shows the more you sit, the greater your risk for major illness, says Amanda Visek, an exercise psychologist with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW.

“It causes a number of poor health outcomes including overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, even mortality,” Visek said.

As a young woman, Visek developed hip and back pain from sitting. Since she converted to a standing desk, she feels better and has more energy.   

“I could even work a 10-hour work day and still feel good at the end of the day," Visek said, "instead of feeling lethargic and you just want to go home and then engage in more sedentary activities by lying on the couch."

One study finds that for older adults, every hour spent sitting is linked to a 50 percent greater risk of becoming disabled. But no one at any age is spared.

“Even if we do make it to the gym at the end of the day and we go for a run and do other things, if we spend the majority of our day sitting in sedentary behavior, that is its own independent risk factor," Visek said. "One is not the remedy for the other.”

So if exercise does not compensate for sitting, what does? Visek suggests building activity into your daily routine.  

“In the workplace, instead of shooting off an e-mail or picking up the phone to call a colleague, you can walk to their office to ask the same question or have the same conversation," she said. "One of the things that we can train ourselves to do when we enter a building is to take the staircase first and look for that. That’s an easy substitution in building steps into our day in lieu of riding the elevator up.”

The Milken Institute School of Public Health promotes this vision. The central staircase encourages taking the steps, elevated tables in classrooms and lounge areas provide the option to stand and all faculty members have standing desks.  

Baxter says she takes the long way to the photocopier or to get a cup of coffee.  What seems like such a small thing has changed her life and prompted her to offer this advice:

“Everybody stand," she said. "It’s good. It’s good for you.  Everybody stand, just for a little while. Try it."

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan
May 30, 2014 3:39 PM
Standing definitely helps you to live a healthier life, but it's important to sit once in a while too. The best way to work is to use a sit-stand height adjustable desk, which lets you take breaks and switch postures on the fly. Desks like our UpLift 900 (http://www.thehumansolution.com/uplift-900-electric-sit-stand-desk-black.html) are good options for getting the best of both worlds.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs