Studies tell us that sitting for long periods of time throughout the day is unhealthy, and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to obesity, heart disease, and even premature death. The good news? According to one Australian study, simply replacing a couple hours of sitting with standing can provide big benefits.
In looking at nearly 800 middle-aged to elderly men and women, researchers found that standing up more during the day has a positive impact on both blood sugar and cholesterol levels, which in turn supports a healthy heart. Specifically, they determined that replacing just two hours of sitting with standing:
- lowered average triglycerides by 11 percent;
- lowered blood sugar levels by 2 percent; and
- increased HDL and lowered LDL levels in the body.
Further, when sitting was replaced with walking or running, even greater benefits were seen. Triglyceride and blood sugar levels dropped even more, and overall body mass index fell by 11 percent on average. Waist size also decreased by an average of 3 inches.
Study authors stress that standing more frequently is a simple change most people can incorporate into their daily lives. At home, activities such as cooking, talking on the phone, or paying bills can be done on your feet. And in many offices, standing desks and chairless meetings are being incorporated into workplace health initiatives.