Health trends come and go. Often those trends are buoyed by errant studies that claim x, y, z will happen if you don’t stop or start doing something immediately. Over the past few years there have been studies which suggested prolonged spells of sitting increased one’s risk of heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. Thus, the standing and treadmill desk movements were born. Millionaires were made. Capitalism worked.
JAMA Cardiology took a step back and decided to correlate and analyze the 33 studies that attempted to link the above maladies and sedentary work days. What they found was that there’s no link to a certain level of activity. Dr. Ambarish Pandey, the study’s lead author, said,”our findings suggest that sedentary time is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, independent of other potential risk factors such as body mass index and physical activity, only at very high levels.” The study noted an increase of 14 percent for cardiovascular ailments only after 12 or more consecutive hours of sedentary situations. That is, sitting for 12 straight hours is not really good for anyone. That seems reasonable. Getting up every few hours to walk around has been shown to be enough to break the effects.
Do standing desks really help? This seems to indicate “not really.” The calories burned sitting at a desk are only slightly lower than if you’re standing or are on a treadmill desk — 56 versus 75 respectively for every 30 minutes on a very broad average. Dr. Jos Verbeek, a health researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, noted, “what we actually found is that most of it is, very much, just fashionable and not proven good for your health.” Moreover, the consensus on dozens of studies are showing that prolonged standing might actually be worse. A 12-year study in Denmark showed that prolonged standing led to vein damage and higher hospitalization rates.
Overall, staying active and getting regular exercise is what’s important. Sitting and standing desks seem to be something that can help achieve that activity, as long as it’s a little of both and not one over the other.
(Via Medical Daily)