Sitting, Standing or Something Else?
Like many things, sitting is really only bad for you in excess. It has become a problem in our society because of the increasing number of jobs that take place sitting in front of a screen. And if you’re reading this, chances are you fit that description.
Standing combats a lot of the negative effects of prolonged sitting, but it alone is not a perfect solution. Standing exclusively can have its own drawbacks, and either way, the larger underlying problem is one of inactivity. That’s why researchers have been looking a certain geographic regions called Blue Zones.
How Can We Live Longer? A Look at Blue Zones
A Blue Zone is defined as a demographic or geographical area where people live measurably longer lives. One of the key characteristics in each of the identified Blue Zones is constant moderate physical activity. But these people aren’t spending any time at the gym, but rather engaging in low intensity physical activity as a byproduct of their life structure. For example, a village in Sardinia, Italy has a very high population density which results in vertical housing, forcing them to go up and down stairs on a regular basis. Another strange “benefit” they have is infertile land, which requires constant physical tending. A separate community in Okinawa, Japan simply sits on the floor, which necessitates them to get up and down thirty to forty times a day. Walking is also a regular component of each community, often being the default mode of transportation.
More Activity Can Mean More (and Better) Years
These regions serve to highlight that regular, low-intensity activity can lead to a longer and healthier life. Sitting is inherently physically inactive and that’s why there has been increasing interest in standing desks, but standing desks are only a means to an end. A standing desk may make it easier to move around and increase your overall activity level, but whether you sit or stand, it’s important to remember to actually do it.