For years we've been warned about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Who could forget the terrifying news that sitting is as bad as smoking? If you're not sure if you're sitting too much, these new scientifically backed recommendations on how much standing, sitting, and stretching you should be doing every workday will help you out.
According to Dr. Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, your workday should include a balance of sitting, stretching, and standing. In fact, he warns that too much standing is just as bad as too much sitting, since prolonged standing can lead to back pain and other issues down the road. Here's the ideal formula for office workers he recently recommended to The Wall Street Journal: for every 30 minutes at your desk, you should sit for 20 minutes, stand for eight minutes and then move around, and stretch for two minutes. If you're not sure how to appropriately stretch at your desk, these five stretching moves will get the job done.
This mix, Dr. Hedge says, is ideal for increasing bone density and reducing risk of disease, but it's also a great formula for weight loss. Since standing burns one-half to one calorie more than sitting, over a few hours that represents hundreds of calories burned . . . by doing nothing other than standing. Oppositely, sitting for more than an hour "lowers the levels of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase, which causes calories to be sent to fat stores rather than to muscle," says Dr. Hedge, meaning you can literally stand your way to a better fat burn at your desk.