Pull up a chair and check out the newest research on sitting: Turns out that it’s not going to kill you, after all.
British scientists, pushing back against a rash of recent reports saying that prolonged sitting can increase a person’s risk of dying, said their data don’t support those findings. The anti-sitting groundswell has resulted in a boom in the sale of standing desks, which, the new study says, are no better for you than a desk at which you sit.
In a report published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from the University of Exeter and University College London analyzed 16 years of health data gathered from 5,132 people. After factoring in the participants’ age, diet and overall health, “the results suggest that mortality risk is not associated with sitting time,” the researchers concluded.
But hang on a second, couch potatoes. The report makes it very clear that no one is advocating for a complete lack of movement. Exercise is still the foundation for a long and healthy life.
“The promotion of a physically active lifestyle should still be a priority,” the researchers wrote. “Sitting was only associated with mortality risk in those who reported zero minutes of weekly walking or moderate to vigorous physical activity.”
All this study is arguing is that standing still is no different from sitting still — it’s the being still part that poses health risks.
“Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing,” the lead researcher, Melvyn Hillsdon, said in a statement that accompanied the release of the study.
In short, the standing-desk proponents are back on the hot seat. □