Sitting Still Is Killing You, But Standing All Day Has Its Own Risks Too
The dangers of sitting for prolonged periods of time are becoming increasingly known and now being called the new smoking. An article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2014 found that sedentary sitting is associated with a 24% increased risk of colon cancer, a 32% increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% increased risk of lung cancer. The Mayo Clinic reinforces the concerns of sedentary sitting when they found that those who sat for long periods of time had a nearly 50% increase in the risk of death from any cause and about a 125% increase risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (specifically, angina) or heart attack. The “sitting disease” is slowly killing millions of Americans every year.
The obvious solution to the sitting disease is to stand all day. However, ask any doorman or cashier how it feels to stand in one position all day. Standing in one position can have drastically negative effects on your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back. For many who stand all day, pain is found primarily in the feet, legs, back and shoulders. Extra stress is also placed on the spinal column. Pain in the heels is the most common pain people experience. The heel bones react to repeated stress or weight-bearing, especially in people standing on hard surfaces such as concrete. This causes inflammation on the ligament on the bottom of the foot. Bone spurs can often develop after years of pain. This condition often leads to plantar fasciitis. Standing also leads to reduced blood flow, which causes pain in the muscles and joints. When blood flow is decreased, the blood stagnates and can cause varicose veins.
A full list of the drawbacks of standing include:
• Painful feet and legs
• Swelling in feet and legs
• Heel problems, including plantar fasciitis/heel spurs
• Achilles tendonitis
• Varicose veins
• Orthopedic changes to the feet, including flat feet
• Low back pain
• Restricted blood flow
• Immobilization/locking of joints
• Arthritis in knees and hips
• Stiffness in neck and shoulders
• Problems in pregnancy and birth defects
• High blood pressure
• Heart and circulatory problems
It also is not that much healthier than sitting. In terms of calorie burn and physical exertion, standing in one place is equivalent to 1.3 MET (a physiological measure expressing the energy cost of physical activities) compared to 1 MET for sitting. Walking at a 3 mile-per-hour pace is a 3.3 MET activity, while jogging is a 7 MET, which means it burns 7 times the energy than the body at rest.
Standing also does not address the many issues of sitting, including blood flow. One of the reasons standing burns slightly more energy than sitting is the heart is working harder to get blood from your feet back to the heart. However, for most people this is not enough to ensure proper blood flow and will most likely experience swollen feet and hands. Muscle contractions greatly assist the heart in moving blood back to the heart. When muscles contract, they squeeze your arteries and veins to move your blood. Unfortunately, standing does not activate your leg muscles enough to assist in pumping blood.
The next conclusion one could draw is that a treadmill desk is the ultimate solution to staying healthy and active at work. After years of growth in the treadmill desk industry, sales growth has begun to decrease due to the practicality of walking all day while trying to work. Research has indicated that there is an 11% drop in motor & cognitive skills of typing, mouse clicking and math problems. This is to say a treadmill desk is great for light reading, phone calls and short emails. Coding, content editing, drawing, web design and many more occupations do not allow for constant walking due to this drop in motor and cognitive skills.
After reading this, I hope you can understand why we created the PediGlide. The PediGlide is a healthier option than sedentary standing and sitting because it provides you the ability to keep your leg muscles active throughout the day, keeping your blood moving. This helps prevent blood clots, keeps energy up and many more health benefits. Also, the PediGlide is the only healthcare device available that allows you to stay active throughout the day with no vertical knee movement and can fit in more office environments than all other available devices.