Standing: Reduce Risk of Chronic Disease

Some researchers call it the 'new smoking.'Patricia Kelikani

Patricia Kelikani, Health Journalist (Co-host): The average American spends 13 hours a day doing this. Some researchers call it the “new smoking.” In fact, you’re probably doing it right now, I know we are, it’s sitting.

Dr. Mark Reeves, Surgical Oncologist (Co-host): Many of us spend our waking hours sitting for eight hours a day or more with our leisure activities including even more sitting! It may seem harmless, but sitting for extended periods of time could lead to serious health problems.

Dr. Ernie Medina, Loma Linda University Assistant Professor of Preventive Care: Chronic inflammation increases over time if you sit too much. Chronic inflammation is actually a root problem for most of our common big killers, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

KELIKANI: If you are experiencing a sedentary lifestyle or “sitting disease,” not only does chronic inflammation increase, but also bad cholesterol or LDL goes up and good cholesterol or HDL goes down.

DR. REEVES: Even if you exercise regularly, but sit most of the day, you’re still not completely protected from those risks.

DR. MEDINA: “The term that I use now is called active couch potato because they can be active for that hour of exercising and then what are they doing the other 23 hours.”

Even if you exercise regularly, but sit most of the day, you’re still not completely protected from those risks.Dr. Reeves

KELIKANI: So how can you incorporate more movement into your daily routine? If you spend most of your day sitting, get up and move for one or two minutes every hour.

DR. REEVES: You can also get an activity tracker that will alert you when you’ve been sitting for too long. Getting up and moving periodically throughout the day is key to protecting you from developing chronic diseases. A plus to standing is increased concentration.

KELIKANI: You’ll have more energy due to better blood flow and better posture and core strength. When you stand, researchers recommend “active” standing, where you move around and shift your feet around.

DR. MEDINA: “When you’re standing and you’re contracting your muscles more like doing some squats or leg splits or lunges or something like that, that helps to force the blood back up so it doesn’t settle and pool and stay there for long periods of time.”

KELIKANI: Standing desks are also becoming quite popular in workspaces. Doctors recommend easing into a standup desk. Don’t forget to use proper ergonomics. Make sure the height is correct for your body. Wear comfortable shoes while you’re at the standup desk and stand on a cushioned mat. There’s your tip for the day on how you can live healthier, longer.

Ernie Medina, DrPH