New Clinical Trail Uncovers Why Sitting Too Much Causes Harm to Heart Health
Early results of a new clinical trial uncovering the health effects of a sitting too much at work will be revealed at the Heart Foundation National Conference in Adelaide on Thursday.
The trial, led by Professor David Dunstan at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, and funded by the Heart Foundation, examined 20 office workers in a simulated work space in a clinical laboratory at Baker IDI. Researchers wanted to know the effects on workers’ health after sitting for long periods of time while working. It also looked at workers breaking up their sitting time with short periods of standing through the use of a height-adjustable workstation (standing desk).
Early findings indicate that using a height adjustable workstation throughout the day can increase energy expenditure by 13 per cent when compared with sitting. In addition it appears there are no ill effects on productivity levels – people work just as much standing as they do seated at their desk. The research follows previous studies which show 30 minutes of regular exercise every day may not ward off heart disease if the rest of the day is spent sitting.
Professor David Dunstan, head of the Physical Activity Laboratory at Baker IDI has been undertaking research into the sitting habits of Australians for the past 15 years.
“We’re really trying to unravel the health hazards of sedentary behaviour at work and – the early indications of our research show the positive effects of standing while you work,” Professor Dunstan said.
He said many workers had fallen into sedentary habits.
“It’s really crept up on many Australians in the workplace – we’re now sitting for about 80 per cent of our day at work,” he said.
National CEO of the Heart Foundation Dr Lyn Roberts said there were many ways men and women can get moving during their day.
“Heart Foundation recommends moving regularly throughout your day – from walking during your lunch break to standing up to answer your phone and holding standing meetings,” Dr Roberts said. “You can even walk around while answering text messages and emails on your mobile phone,” she said.
 If the average male or female replaced 4 hours of their work day sitting with standing (50%), across the work week (5 days), the ‘gain’ in energy expenditure is approximately equivalent to a 45 minute brisk walk
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