As the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle continue to be compared to the dangers of obesity and cancer, the medical community has been abuzz with discussion about how much people should avoid prolonged sitting. Individuals with desk jobs are on heightened alert about the merits of standing meetings and the need to take a lap around the office every so often, but the answer to the question “how often?” has not been clear.

Now a consensus on how many hours we should spend out of our chairs is emerging, reports the Washington Post. Formal recommendations from the British Journal of Sports Medicine say that working individuals should stand for at least two hours of an eight-hour workday. James Levine, an obesity expert from The Mayo Clinic, calls the guideline “a good start.”

At first read, the two hour recommendation might not sound realistic. But Levine promises the solutions for incorporating more movement into the day are “so simple they’re almost stupid.” Stand while you talk on your cell phone, he advises. Change your posture every 20 to 30 minutes. Walk to your colleague’s desk instead of sending an email.

If these movements still seem excessive, consider that the body’s metabolism drops 90% after just 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that transport bad fat from arteries to muscles slow down, and good cholesterol begins to drop.

Experts acknowledge that evolving to routines with less chair time won't happen overnight, but the increased awareness about the need to move indicates that a longstanding health hazard can be combated with a simple commitment to moving.

Read the full article from the Washington Post.

By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services