Most of the time, when I’m at work, I’m either sitting at my desk or sitting in a meeting. In other words, I sit a lot. My coworkers do the same thing. We all spend hours sitting behind our computers or around conference tables. Unfortunately, this may not be entirely healthy.

Researchers have found that people who sit for extended periods of time are at an increased risk for a variety of diseases, such as osteoporosis and diabetes. But hey – too much standing is bad for you too! Apparently, if you spend hours on your feet, this can lead to health issues such as back and foot problems.

So what’s the answer? Should you sit or stand? Well, researchers recommend that you do a little of both. Even though you might sit most of the day, you should stand up periodically and try to incorporate some light activity (like walking) into your daily routine.

  • Alan Hedge of Cornell University suggests that for every half hour that you work, you should stand for eight minutes and move around for two minutes.
  • The British Journal of Sports Medicine says that during an eight-hour workday, people should try to stand or engage in light activity (like walking) for two to four hours.
  • And NASA found that muscle and bone density were maintained when employees stood up for two minutes, 16 times a day.

Is this really doable? Well, the amount of activity that NASA was investigating is pretty easy to achieve. Basically, during an eight-hour workday, you just need to stand for four minutes each hour. Easy! But standing, walking, and stretching for two or more hours a day? That might be difficult.

You could get one of those standing desks – but that might actually lead you to stand too much. Perhaps a better idea is to start taking “walking meetings.” When you need to meet with one or two people, invite them to walk with you rather than sitting in a conference room. There’s no reason for people to be sitting in order to have a conversation.

Can you think of other ways to be more active while still getting work done? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!


Reddy, S. (2015, September 29). The Toll of Sitting All Day. The Wall Street Journal, pp. D1, D3.