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Sitting is Deadly: Stand Up for Yourself!

I really mean it…stand up for yourself…stand up for your health

I’m sure the vast majority of you can relate to this picture! You feel like your computer and your desk are grabbing you and sucking you in. Even now, I’ll guess that you’re reading this sitting down, and it’s time for that to change! Recent research shows that sitting can be as bad for you as smoking! The research isn’t from just any group of researchers, the study was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologists.

Their study showed that those who have an extended amount of “screen time” (time in front of a TV, computer screen, etc.) have a raised mortality and are also at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those who didn’t sit as much.

Another side effect? WEIGHT GAIN! Yes, sitting makes you FAT. Researchers have found a correlation between sitting and high-density lipoprotein. Lipoprotein is an enzyme found in the blood vessels in the muscles. Lipoprotein basically captures fat and holds it captive as your metabolism slows down. When does your metabolism slow down? WHEN YOU’RE SITTING! On the flip side, when you’re standing, your muscles are working to support you, and that enzyme gets released and begins burning fat. Some research suggests that sitting for hours each day decreases lipoprotein activity by as much as 90 to 95%. The moral of the story? Get up and move today!

What can you do about it? Take five minutes each hour and do the following:


SETS: 3     REPS: 20

1.  Sit up straight on the edge of a chair or bench

2.  Keep your feet and knees pointed straight ahead and hip width apart

3.  Place a pillow between your knees and apply gentle pressure inward, just enough to hold the pillow in place

4.  Roll your hips forward to place an arch in your low back and hold throughout the exercise

5.  Lift your heels off the floor using your front hip muscles to generate the movement and then lower them back to the floor, rather than pushing with your feet and using your calf muscles.


REPS: 1     DURATION: 1:00

1.  Stand with your feet pointing straight and hip width apart

2.  Interlace your fingers together and reach your arms overhead, pressing your hands to the ceiling with palms up

3.  Look up toward your hands and keep your arms straight, do not bend at the elbow. Do not lean back. Try to keep your arms directly overhead, not forward of your head. Relax your stomach muscles


SETS: 1     REPS: 30

1.  Stand at a wall with your heels, hips, upper back and head against the wall.

2.  Your feet should be pointed straight and hip width apart.

3.  Place your knuckles against your temples with your thumbs pointing down to your shoulders (golfer’s grip).

4.  Open and pull back your elbows so that they are against the wall then close your elbows together in front of your face. Keep your elbows up at shoulder level, do not let them drop down.

QUESTION: After trying these, what feels different? Be sure to leave your comments below!

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6 Responses

  1. Good article. I’ve been standing at my computer for over a year now. Have you come across any research that correlates it with getting taller? I had my physical yesterday and the doctor said I’m at 6′ now, and I’ve always been 5’10”. For kicks I measured last night and sure enough, 6′..

    • While I haven’t seen any research, I fully believe it can happen. My theory is this: The more you stand, the stronger your deep stabilizing system/posture muscles are working. I believe the more they work and are engaged, the more vertical/upright you’ll become. So, yes, I fully believe that you standing at your desk has, over time, made you taller. I don’t think you “grew” but instead your spine found its neutral, designed position which allowed you to “gain” a couple more inches in height.

      Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any other questions!


  2. [...] long-haul, or a student in class all day, sitting can be extremely harmful to your health. I have blogged about the dangers of sitting before, and I’m a huge proponent of taking motion breaks every hour to [...]

  3. [...] I’ve blogged about sitting before, but it bears repeating: Sitting is deadly. The most recent study tracked 200,000 subjects age 45 and older and found that those who sat for more than 11 hours per day were 40% more likely to die for any reason during the length of the study (compared to those who sat less than four hours per day). [...]

  4. [...] The phrase “use it or lose it” is extremely accurate when it comes to the human body. So do yourself a favor: Stand up! Move! You’ll thank yourself for [...]

  5. […] However, what if you can’t break away from your desk? What if it’s just not possible? You’re in back-to-back meetings all day. Conference calls fill your schedule. There’s just no time for “you.” I know there are certainly days in my week when I simply don’t have 15 minutes to get outside and go for a walk. There are days I’m slammed with clients from 8 to 5, and I barely have time to eat lunch. Sound familiar? I’m sure to some of you it does! To top it all off, recent studies suggest that sitting is just as dangerous for you as smoking, which I have blogged before about before. […]

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