Which Is Better: Sitting Or Standing?

Thursday, January 16, 2020, in Wellness by

Sitting for too long is bad for your health, but is standing the cure-all? We weigh up the pros and cons of sitting versus standing during your work day.

BURN CALORIES

And the winner is… STANDING

According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, standing at a desk increased calorie burn by 20 percent compared to sitting. Why? When we sit, our muscles are not engaged, our digestive system slows and blood circulation is gradual. So if you find yourself chained to the desk most of the time, take a stance every 20 minutes: go to the printer, get a drink of water, take a stretch or pace while talking on the phone.

 

BOOST PRODUCTIVITY

And the winner is… SITTING

Tasks requiring intense concentration or fine motor skills are done better seated. Why? When it comes to precision skills, the brain prefers to deal with demands one task at a time, and standing may disrupt this process. Studies have shown that standing at work contributes to more typing mistakes and slower mouse speed. To ensure your day is a productive one, work on difficult tasks in 90 minute blocks, followed by a short 15-minute break. This work-break cycle aligns with our bodies circadium rythms (our body clock), helping us get the most out of our work day, without sitting for hours.

 

IMPROVE POSTURE

And the winner is… SITTING

It may surprise you, but sitting is the winner. When we stand, especially for longer periods, we are much more likely to lean and slouch because we tire much faster. This can lead to muscle imbalances and back pain, especially for those who are overweight. Better chairs and workplace ergonomics ensure screen height and keyboard distance are aligned correctly for optimal posture. Sitting upright with your shoulders back and core engaged helps prevent tight muscles and back pain – so perk up and remind yourself to reset your posture often.

 

LIVE LONGER

And the winner is… STANDING

We’ve all heard by now that ‘sitting is the new smoking'; long bouts of sitting can increase our risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and even premature death. These risks remain high even if we exercise often, but spend most of our waking hours in a chair or on the couch. Recent studies show that if we replace as little as two minutes of sitting each hour with gentle walking, we can lower the risk of premature death by about 33 percent. Just another reason to get up and move often! Take regular breaks from sitting every 30 minutes and remember, every little bit of movement adds up.

 

TIPS TO MOVE MORE

 

  • Stand instead of sit on the bus or train and get off a stop early.

  • Pace on the phone. Invest in a headset so you can be more mobile while you chat.

  • Sit on a stability ball at work – it encourages better posture and forces you to use your core.

  • Have a walking meeting instead of a coffee.

  • Walk to the shops and carry your groceries home.

  • Get up during TV ad breaks – stretch, do some squats or tidy the coffee table.

  • Do your own housework. Why not blast some music and have a little dance while you dust, vacuum and mop!

Sarah is an accredited exercise physiologist, trainer, coach and speaker who specialises in women’s health and hormonal imbalances. She has a passion for helping women of all ages develop a healthy relationship with exercise and their bodies by training smarter, not harder, with movement that rejuvenates the body, not exhausts or depletes it.

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