Stand More / Sit Less

Do you sit for long periods without a break? If so, it’s working against you. Working at a desk with no breaks is an example.

First consider clear thinking. The National Cancer Institute notes that extended periods of sitting leads to “brain fog”. The reasons are decreased blood flow and less oxygen flow to the brain. Due to this, necessary chemical exchange is limited. 

Second, there’s a statistical cancer connection. Statistical studies indicate that men who stand for work have 23 % less prostate cancer than office workers. Physically active men also and have half the number of colorectal cancers. 

Further, a European study concluded that 49 % of male cancers occurred in the prostate, bladder, urethra, anus, rectum and part of the colon. That correlates to sitting. When we sit, weight is concentrated on those organs. Organs aren’t designed for weight bearing.

Third, chiropractors routinely cite spinal problems from sitting in front of a computer. Hunched over shoulders with a strained neck become a habit. Internal organs become incorrectly positioned. A 2006 study (4,000 men) by the Archives of Internal Medicine agreed. When performing surgery, researchers noticed that abdominal nerves and blood vessels were under tension in individuals whose bodies are out of alignment. 

Fourth, periodic movement boosts protective antioxidants, and a sedentary lifestyle builds potentially cancer-causing free radicals. The Journal of Applied Physiology relates this to cancers, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and obesity.

The list goes on. So, what should we do?

If you have a desk job, get up about every 30 minutes. Do shoulder and leg stretches. Rotate your feet. Twist the spine. Be sure to take breaks and walk outside if you can. Walk to lunch off-site. Take time to breathe deeply. 

Pay attention to posture. The head and neck should not protrude forward. Lower the scapula and let the arms loose. Move the lower spine forward and backward. Support yourself with feet and hips. Periodically line yourself up against a wall and adjust posture. (Don’t worry. If someone notices, tell them what you’re doing. They’ll probably join you.) Feel free to invent movements in the moment.

Whatever you do, don’t sit still for long periods. Keep moving. At the end of the day, you won’t be exhausted and sore. 

Keep 10-15% of your attention on your body. This won’t interfere with work. Instead, it will keep you more alert as the brain fog recedes. 

Keep moving and live well.


Jack Menear

Jack Menear