Constant movement is the key: Overcome the dangers of prolonged sitting by raising your metabolic rate with ”dynamic” workstations
08/25/2018 // Ralph Flores // Views

Sitting, the thing people do the most every day, has been called as "the new smoking" and for good reason. While various scientific literature has pointed out the adverse effects that sitting down has on the body, a new study may provide a way to counteract this effect. In their paper, which was published in the journal Work, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have said that moving around while sitting might actually be a better alternative than a standing desk.

The study adds weight to the benefits of non-exercise active thermogenesis (NEAT), which is defined as "spontaneous activity unrelated to a fitness routine," and how it helps offset the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicated that more than half of a person's waking hours are spent sitting down. This sedentary behavior, according to the researchers of the study, could increase the risk of a person "dying from all causes." (Related: CONFIRMED: Desk jobs and lots of daily sitting lead to an early grave.)

"Sitting is bad for our health, but it is a big part of daily life for many people," explained lead author Craig Horswill of the UIC's College of Applied Health Sciences. "Exercise is a good way to counteract the negative effects of sitting, but just incorporating physical activity into one part of our day may not be enough to overcome the damage caused by prolonged sitting and an otherwise sedentary lifestyle."

For the study, the research team examined the metabolic rate made by three workstations – a desk, a standing desk, and a desk that is equipped with a movable footrest. They gathered 16 participants, who were oriented regarding the workstations on their first visit. On their second visit, metabolic and heart rate data were collected while the participants were testing out the workstations in three progressive stages for 15 minutes.


The results indicated that people who were moving while they were seated had a higher metabolic rate than those who were seated or standing. Moreover, people who moved while they were seated reported no decline in cognitive function.

"These results suggest that non-exercise active thermogenesis, which we call NEAT, can increase movement and calorie burning, and may have the potential to impact health," Horswill said. "We expected to see the metabolic rate increase with each progressive stage, but instead found that metabolic rates from movement while seated were either equal to or higher than rates while standing."

While the research paid for the device that was used in the study, researchers stated that you can still get the benefits of moving around your desk without the help of any device. Any random or spontaneous movement, like tapping your leg or tapping your fingers, can help increase your metabolism. They also noted that posture, how we sit when we work, can also bring about "unintended benefits" as well. A good practice, according to researchers, is to move around periodically – be it to stretch or walk around.

Experts from the Harvard Medical School, in a different study, recommend sitting less while working, like taking a one- to three-minute break after every half-hour while you're sitting at work. At home, you can stand up during commercials or incorporate exercise while watching TV – you can even try standing up while you're on the phone. According to Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor at Harvard Medical School, "The key is to make these things habits that you do without thinking about, like brushing your teeth."

Learn how to curb the harmful effects of sitting down by visiting today.

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