By now you've probably heard about the latest health menace plaguing office workers--sitting. Keeping your butt firmly planted in a chair all day can lead to a whole host of terrible health consequences, doctors warn, even if you dutifully hit the gym a few times a week.
To counteract the ill effects of a sedentary job, tons of professionals swear by a simple, equipment-based solution. Just swap your regular desk for a standing one, they recommend. For some folks it's a magic cure for the physical toll that sitting takes, but if you're either not a fan of the idea or looking for a solution that doesn't involve a trip to your local office-furniture store, then consider your prayers answered.
According to a new study, you don't need to switch to a standing desk after all.
The team out of Indiana University identified an intervention that's just as effective as investing in a standing desk without any of the hassle. This miracle cure is... wait for it... a few short walks a day.
Sometimes it takes a scientific study to prove what should have been obvious all along, but if the near hysteria about the consequences of sitting had you in doubt that common-sense solutions would be sufficient, this research should put your fears to bed. Taking a few five-minute, moderately paced walks daily seems to be enough to spare you from the worst effects of having a desk job.
Getting up every so often apparently keeps your blood flowing and your heart healthier. "The researchers were able to demonstrate that during a three-hour period, the flow-mediated dilation, or the expansion of the arteries as a result of increased blood flow, of the main artery in the legs was impaired by as much as 50 percent after just one hour. The study participants who walked for five minutes each hour of sitting saw their arterial function stay the same--it did not drop throughout the three-hour period," the research released explained.
So if you want to skip the standing desk, this study suggests you should feel free. Just mix in a few walking meetings or leisurely strolls into your day (or maybe get yourself an energetic dog). Handily, taking regular breaks to keep sitting from slowly killing you is also likely to boost your creativity, clear your mind, and ultimately improve your productivity. Take your walk outside in nature and you'll probably see an even bigger improvement in your mood. This may be the easiest and biggest win you'll read about this week.
Are you on team regular walks or team standing desk?