Study: Sitting at a Desk May Be Detrimental to Health

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There are high tech options, or opt for a walk during lunch (Published Sunday, Jan 26, 2014)

    (NECN/NBC News: Dr. Bruce Hensel) – New studies show that sitting at a desk can harm health. The solution could be a whole new way of working.

    James Uhrich, the vice president of information technology at Occidental College, says he always has trouble sitting still.

    "I just like to be up and about. I don't, I’m not the type of person that likes to sit around or can sit around all day. I'm just, i'm too restless," said Uhrich.

    His solution is to stand while he works.

    "I just know I feel better when I am up then when I am sitting down," Uhrich explained.

    That may not only be in Uhrich’s mind. Studies show standing is actually good for our health.

    Research published in the archives of internal medicine shows that prolonged sitting increases the risk of many diseases.  

    Sitting more than 11 hours a day increases your risk of dying within 3 years by 40%.

    And sitting 8 to 11 hours per day increases the risk by 15%.

    Dr. Stuart Rugg, chair of the kinesiology department at Occidental College, says you don't have to spend hours at the gym to reduce those risks.

    "We are built to move. We are built to perceive how we move. So the fact that people can spend as much time as they do sitting seems counter to the way we're designed," Dr. Rugg said.

    If you want to stand at work, ask your boss or human resource manager to set up a standing desk. The other option is to ask about a new high-tech solution called the "stir kinetic desk".

    "So the desk actually senses your presence and it responds and adapts to you," says JP Labrosse, the CEO of Stir.

    It moves from a sitting position to a standing position with just a touch of the screen.

    "The desk will actually remind you to change things up during the day," said Labrosse.

    Its high tech and may be expensive, but Uhrich says he he's able to accomplish what he needs with his low-tech table.

    "I’m glad that I am a little restless because I get a little extra maybe some health benefits out of it,” Uhrich says.

    These studies are not absolute, but if you don't want to spend a lot of money on high tech solutions, walk during lunch.