By Sherkiya Wedgeworth

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New study: Have a seat, it won’t kill you

The standing workstation has become a more common sight in offices across the country—some are shelling out thousands of dollars for custom-made stations and others are spending hours configuring their own out of low-cost Ikea parts and furniture.

It’s all for a good cause. We all have read the studies that show the harmful effects of too much sitting—neck strain, back pain, even increased cardiovascular disease and mortality.

But a new British study says that sitting is no more harmful than standing.

The study, published in the October issue of International Journal of Epidemiology, followed more than 5,000 participants for 16 years—making it one of the longest follow-up studies in this area of research. It found that sitting, either at home or work, is not associated with an increased risk of dying.

“Our study overturns current thinking on the health risks of sitting and indicates that the problem lies in the absence of movement rather than the time spent sitting itself,” Melvyn Hillsdon from Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter said in a news release about the findings.

“Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing. The results cast doubt on the benefits of sit-stand work stations, which employers are increasingly providing to promote healthy working environments,” Hillsdon added.

He said policymakers should be more cautious in recommending less time sitting at your desk without also encouraging increased physical activity.

The researchers recommend active breaks from sitting about every 30 minutes, such as getting up for coffee, chatting with co-workers or even writing a quick letter while standing.

And if you need some inspiration to get up from your desk, Hillsdon notes: Ernest Hemingway wrote his novels standing.

Posted on Oct 14, 2015 at 9:54 AM

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