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Too much sitting? Get a stand-up desk

It doesn’t seem very risky to work at a job where you sit at a desk all day and work on a computer. But several research studies indicate that this could be the most unhealthy thing you do in a day.

According to Men’s Health magazine, scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about13 years. They found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks.

Information about the health hazards of extended sitting have been compiled at The medical community has coined the term “sitting disease” to refer to “metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.”

“For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking,” according to Martha Grogan, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic.

Ergonomics of a standing desk

If you want to raise your health profile at a sedentary job, try a standing desk. They are available in a wide range of prices and styles, from an adjustable tray that sits on your current desk to entire desks that raise at the turn of a crank or the touch of a button.

Then there are desks designed by creative office workers looking for a simpler solution. This man made his desk for $22 with parts from Ikea. And this engineer made his desk out of cardboard.

One of our patients who works out of her home had another solution. She bought an extra-long HDMI cable to connect her PC or laptop to her flat screen TV, and then she shares the computer screen with her TV. She props her wireless keyboard on top of a small table that’s just the right height, and stands in front of the TV to work.

The folks at ReadWrite built their stand-up desks and tracked their efficiency. They determined that the stand-up desks made their staff 10 percent more productive.

However, long-term standing isn’t for everyone. Many bloggers recommended standing on an anti-fatigue mat. One executive found that too much standing was too painful for him.

Whatever works for you at work or at home, be sure to move around and change positions throughout the day to keep your back at its healthiest.