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Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics


Stephanie Diani for The New York Times
Dr. Toni Yancey, professor of health services at U.C.L.A., gets work done while riding a recumbent bicycle at home.  She also uses a treadmill desk at the office.
By 

Published: December 1, 2012

THE health studies that conclude that people should sit less, and get up and move around more, have always struck me as fitting into the “well, duh” category.

But a closer look at the accumulating research on sitting reveals something more intriguing, and disturbing: the health hazards of sitting for long stretches are significant even for people who are quite active when they’re not sitting down. That point was reiterated recently in two studies, published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine and in Diabetologia, a journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Suppose you stick to a five-times-a-week gym regimen, as I do, and have put in a lifetime of hard cardio exercise, and have a resting heart rate that’s a significant fraction below the norm. That doesn’t inoculate you, apparently, from the perils of sitting

The research comes more from observing the health results of people’s behavior than from discovering the biological and genetic triggers that may be associated with extended sitting. Still, scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sitting, the production of
enzymes that burn fat in the body declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting, they add, slows the body’s metabolism of glucose and lowers the levels of good (
HDLcholesterol in the blood. Those are risk factors toward developing heart disease and Type2 diabetes.

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