Don’t take a seat: Panel says you should stand for 2 hours per day


Are you sit­ting down? In that case, you should prob­a­bly stand up be­fore read­ing this.

In the first ad­vice of its kind, Bri­tish ex­perts are rec­om­mend­ing of­fice work­ers stand for at least two hours a day, in a warn­ing against the dan­gers of pro­longed sit­ting.

The guide­lines were de­vel­oped by a group of ex­perts in­vited by Public Health Eng­land and an ad­vo­cacy group and were pub­lished on­line Mon­day in the Bri­tish Jour­nal of Sports Medicine.

The ex­perts rec­om­mend peo­ple start with two hours of stand­ing or light ac­tiv­ity, adding they should even­tu­ally dou­ble that to four hours.

In re­cent years, the haz­ards of sit­ting too much have been com­pared to those of smok­ing, with re­search sug­gest­ing peo­ple who spend most of their days seated are more likely to be fat, have heart prob­lems, can­cer and even die ear­lier.

Not even regular seems to help.

“Even if you’re meet­ing your phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity guide­lines, you can­not undo the risks of pro­longed sit­ting,” said Gavin Bradley, direc­tor of the cam­paign group Get Bri­tain Stand­ing, one of the au­thors of the new guid­ance. Bradley, who spoke dur­ing a tele­phone in­ter­view while walk­ing, said of­fi­cials es­ti­mate the av­er­age Bri­ton sits for more than half of their work­ing hours. His group is ex­pand­ing its cam­paign to other coun­tries in­clud­ing the U. S. on Tues­day and is push­ing for more peo­ple to have ac­cess to a desk that al­lows them to stand.

Ac­cord­ing to the guide­lines, peo­ple who sit the most have more than twice the risk of de­vel­op­ing Type 2 di­a­betes and

ex­er­cise car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, a 13 per­cent in­creased risk of can­cer and a 17 per­cent in­creased risk of pre­ma­ture death, com­pared to those who sit the least.

Jenny Nissler, an oc­cu­pa­tional phys­i­cal ther­a­pist and spokes­woman for Bri­tain’s Char­tered So­ci­ety of Phys­io­ther­a­pists, said peo­ple who sit for long stretches could be more prone to joint stiff­ness and back pain.

“Com­pa­nies should re­con­sider the cul­ture around tak­ing regular breaks and think about whether meet­ings could be held stand­ing up or walk­ing,” she said.

Bradley, who takes all his calls stand­ing, says curb­ing the amount of time peo­ple spend sit­ting could have huge benefits, since up to 95 per­cent of adults in de­vel­oped coun­tries are clas­si­fied as in­ac­tive.

“We’ve sat on this prob­lem for far too long,” he said.

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