Imagine going to the gym and seeing a bunch of people in their shorts and t-shirts standing around tall tables talking.
After a few hours, they high-five, congratulate one another on an excellent workout and head off to the locker rooms for showers. “What in the world is going on?” you would wonder. “Where is all the equipment? Where is all the movement? Where is all the exercise?”
This scenario is absolutely ridiculous. No one would classify standing around at the gym as exercise. So why do so many people in the workplace believe standing up while working is giving them the same health and fitness benefits as exercise?
Maybe it is because over a decade ago, the health risks caused by an inactive lifestyle were grouped together and called, as a whole, the “sitting disease.” After all, these health issues were most prevalent among people who worked in jobs where they spent most of their days sitting. Because of this, sitting was dubbed the “new smoking.”
So how do you fix “sitting disease?” It’s easy. You stand up, of course.
However, “sitting disease” is a misnomer that drastically oversimplifies the problem.
Sitting is not killing us; inactivity is.
When we oversimplify the problem, we oversimplify the solution. Then, we’re frustrated when we don’t get the results we desire.
Numerous studies have proven standing at work has many health benefits. The same studies have also claimed standing, by itself, is not enough to fight off the negative consequences of an inactive lifestyle. It is possible to stand all day and still not be active enough to maintain a healthy weight, strengthen muscles, build endurance, achieve physical fitness, or stave off chronic diseases caused by inactivity.
The real solution then, must be activity. Movement. Real exercise.
Don’t be discouraged! Just because standing isn’t really exercise doesn’t mean real exercise has to be complicated. There are ways to include movement and exercise in your daily routines that don’t require a gym membership, multi-step routines, or chic workout clothes.
Exercise can be as simple as walking during your lunch break, doing a set of jumping jacks after each phone call, or taking the stairs several times a day.
The goal is to do whatever it takes to move your body and get your heart rate up for a minimum of 30 minutes throughout the day! If you don’t feel you can dedicate time specifically to exercise, there are ways to multitask and get your exercise in while you work. Walking meetings encourage you and your coworkers to get moving.
There are also many products, like our Bike Desks and Under Desk Cycles, that allow movement while you do what would otherwise be inactive work. Imagine being able to exercise while you answer emails, read, type, or complete paperwork. There’s no reason for your to-do list to limit your opportunities for movement!
Be honest with yourself today about what standing is, and what it isn’t. It is better than sitting all day; it isn’t exercise!
Then, introduce more movement to achieve a healthier life. We’re cheering for you!