Your health is once again being put to the test. In the past medical science was talking a lot about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. The need to get out of the chair and off the couch was the thrust of this medical advice. In recent years, the topic of interest has moved from the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle to the dangers of your standing far too long. Say what? Does this mean a non-sedentary lifestyle could be even more detrimental to our overall health than a sedentary one? In certain cases, you would be shocked to learn that standing too much is actually more detrimental to your health than sitting too much. According to this study, done by Matshop on the endurance of various generations, the generation that could stand the longest without getting fatigued was generation X. However, it is not apparent at present why this is the case, or why generation Y had the least endurance in this area. Yet, it suggests either that age or generational factors play a key role in why certain generations exhibit higher rates of endurance when standing than others by comparison.
Is Your Job Harming You?
With a new focus on how long you are standing at work under scrutiny, it is being shown that your standing for more than 5 hours at work may be the cause of certain health problems. While it is often necessary for certain individuals to stand while working through their shift, this practice has shown to lead to lower back pain and musculoskeletal problems. If you compound this situation over many months or years, it may begin to explain why so many people today experience back and lower extremity issues when heading into midlife and old age. Since children are not made to stand at work this long, it is unknown if they are at quite the same risks as adults—especially adults that are holding on to extra weight.
Gravity and Your Joints
When you are standing up, not cradled by a sturdy chair, the full pull of gravity is isolated downward along your skeleton and muscular structure. This means you are taking the full brunt of the load on your body. When you were sitting in the chair, some of that load was distributed and supported by the chair. The trouble with putting a constant load on your body from excessive standing is that this is inevitably going to impact the health of your joints. Your joints need to be used to a significant degree to get the synovial fluid moving through them, but too much of a load placed on your joints for prolonged periods of time can ultimately lead to joint pain and eventually arthritic symptoms. It is important to consider that the means to nourish your joints with synovial fluid arises from the joint in motion, not from the joint being forced to remain in a locked position or a position with a lot of load on it. What this seems to suggest is that your joints need both periods of resting and periods of motion, but prolonged periods of load stress on joints is never good for your body and will deteriorate the joints being subjected to too much of a load for too long a time.
The Damage to Your Cardiovascular System
If you thought prolonged standing was bad for your back and joints, the damage it does to your cardiovascular system could prove to make standing at work too long even more detrimental to your health and well-being. As you stand in one spot for too long, the blood starts to pool in your lower extremities. Gravity is pulling this blood down, so the heart has to work much harder to get the blood to move upwards against the pull of gravity. Since the blood is pooling in the lower extremities, due to the pull of gravity, this creates more pressure on the veins of your lower extremities. This is why you get those unsightly varicose veins. In turn, this adds to the overall oxidative stress the body is under. The problem is that as you keep this up for the long term, day after day, you reach a point where your risk of heart disease doubles compared to sitting too much.
When you were sitting all the time, it was actually good advice to stand up more often. Unfortunately, taking standing to an extreme is not good for the body either. The body needs regular changes in position to remain healthy and functioning properly. It changes that makes the difference, not stagnating in one position for long periods of time. Movement is something that everyone needs, so the old saying that you should move like your ancestors is some of the best advice around today for getting your health back on track.