Stand Up While You Work. It May Save Your Life.
What’s the Latest Development?
A survey of recent health studies suggests that standing up at work may confer qualitatively unique health benefits, helping the body stay fit and avoid disease in ways that rigorous exercise cannot. “Researchers in this field trace the history of the idea that standing up is good for you back to 1953, when a study published in the Lancet found that bus conductors, who spend their days standing, had a risk of heart attack half that of bus drivers, who spend their shifts on their backsides.” The results of more recent inquiries have found that individuals who are least active in their normal daily lives are twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who are most active.
What’s the Big Idea?
A meta-analysis of 18 health studies covering more than 800,000 people, carried out by Emma Wilmot of the University of Leicester, concluded that “the immobile are twice as likely to die from a heart attack and two-and-a-half times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease as the most ambulatory.” Crucially, all this seemed independent of the amount of vigorous, gym-style exercise that volunteers did. The new data come as the rich Western world gets even more sedentary: “A typical car-driving, television-watching cubicle slave would have to walk an extra 19km a day to match the physical-activity levels of the few remaining people who still live as hunter-gatherers.”
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