In a recent instalment of Dr. Michael Mosley’s ‘Just One Thing’ podcast, called ‘Stand Up’, the documentary maker and award-winning medical journalist explained that ‘long, uninterrupted sitting is incredibly dangerous’ for human health.[i]
He observed that prolonged periods of sedentary behaviour can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as all-cause mortality. However, he went on to posit that incorporating standing into a daily routine can counteract some of these ‘extremely bad’ outcomes. For instance, standing can lower blood sugar levels, burn an ‘amazing’ number of calories, speed up metabolism, improve mood and strengthen bones.
Professor of Applied Exercise Sciences at University Centre Shrewsbury, John Buckley, made an appearance to give his views as an expert on the subject.
Underscoring that we spend much more time sitting now than we did half a century ago, he reasoned that test subjects in various studies have lost bone density and reduced blood circulation because their bodies have not been subjected to a small, but constant pulling force:
‘I think gravity has a lot to answer for’, Professor Buckley said.
In this way, he found it hard to differentiate sitting down from bed rest.
For the avoidance of latent disease, the Professor encouraged workers to stand ‘at least two or three times in an hour for a couple of minutes’. By taking this opportunity when answering or making telephone calls, there comes the tendency to walk about, which is an ‘added benefit’.
To listen to the full 14-minute BBC Radio 4 episode, which aired on 6 November 2021, click here.
[i] Diana Buntajova, ‘How much you should be standing each day to prevent disease - Dr Michael Mosley advice’ (19 November 2021 Daily Express) <https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1523927/standing-health-benefits-michael-mosley> accessed 21 November 2021.