To Sit or Stand?

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Most Americans have to sit all day at work and they despise it.  A new survey commissioned by Ergotron, a global manufacturer of digital display mounting, furniture, and mobility products including sit-stand desks, found that nearly 70 percent of full time American workers hate sitting, yet 86 percent do it all day, every day. When they do get up, more than half (56 percent) use getting food as an excuse.

On top of all of that sitting at work, and for meals and commuting, the respondents:

-Sit another one to two hours while watching TV (36 percent)

-Game another one to two hours (10 percent)

-Lounge for one to two hours for things such as reading (25 percent)

-Use their home computer for one to two hours (29 percent)

In total, Americans are sitting an average of 13 hours a day and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day. While Americans know about the importance of exercise, only 31 percent go to the gym, and 56 percent devote less than $10 per month to staying active. However, 96 percent would be willing to stand more to improve their health or life expectancy, and 30 percent even responded that they would rather go without coffee for a week to stand.

The survey also found that the vast majority (93 percent) didn't know what "Sitting Disease" is, but 74 percent believe that sitting too much could lead to an early death. The term "Sitting Disease" has been coined by the scientific community and is commonly used when referring to metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle. Just last month, the American Medical Association adopted a policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraging employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting.

"Research is showing links between sedentary lifestyles and diabetes, several types of cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease," said Jane Payfer, an Ergotron spokesperson. "There is a significant opportunity for people to change their behavior in the workplace and for corporations to change their cultures. Standing increases energy, burns extra calories, tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow, reduces blood sugar levels and ramps up metabolism. Frequently overlooked, standing more is the simplest, easiest change someone can make."   

This is Ergotron's second survey in three years on the effects of sitting for office workers.  The 2010 survey can be found here.