38 Ways to Help You Stop Sitting, Start Standing

We’ve reported regularly on the negative effects of sitting. So what are some tips to get folks out of their seats and standing more? A new study has found 38 of them.

Reports the Wall Street Journal: “Scientists also are studying how to induce people to sit less.”

One study titled “How to reduce sitting time? A review of behaviour change strategies used in sedentary behaviour reduction interventions among adults” was recently published in the Health Psychology Review.

The study states: “Sedentary behaviour – i.e., low energy-expending waking behaviour while seated or lying down – is a health risk factor, even when controlling for physical activity. This review sought to describe the behaviour change strategies used within interventions that have sought to reduce sedentary behaviour in adults. Studies were identified through existing literature reviews, a systematic database search, and hand-searches of eligible papers. Interventions were categorised as ‘very promising’, ‘quite promising’, or ‘non-promising’ according to observed behaviour changes.”

In terms of results, the study found 38 “interventions,” or ways to help change behavior: ” Twenty-six eligible studies reported thirty-eight interventions, of which twenty (53%) were worksite-based. Fifteen interventions (39%) were very promising, eight quite promising (21%), and fifteen non-promising (39%).”

The WSJ reports that Benjamin Gardner, senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College in London and first author of the article stated that: “Among those that worked: educating people about the benefits of less sitting time; restructuring work environments, such as adding standing or adjustable desks; setting goals for the amount of time spent sitting; recording sitting times; and creating cues or alerts for people when they need to stand.”

Additionally, the study reports:

  • “Very or quite promising interventions tended to have targeted sedentary behaviour instead of physical activity.”
  • “Interventions based on environmental restructuring, persuasion, or education were most promising.”
  • “Self-monitoring, problem solving, and restructuring the social or physical environment were particularly promising behaviour change techniques.”
  • “Future sedentary reduction interventions might most fruitfully incorporate environmental modification and self-regulatory skills training.”

Videos: Stand More, Sit Less

As we continue our reporting on the ills of sitting too much at work — and the ways to help change behavior — two videos that help inspire and tell the story.

The first is from JustStand.org, which states: “In our modern sedentary culture we sit way too much. That’s what we learn learn day after day in the news.

But research also highlights the obvious remedy: standing!”

The second is a TED talk by Nilofer Merchant, a “business innovator [who] thinks deeply about the frameworks, strategies and cultural values of companies.” 

You can watch the video here.

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More Ideas to Stand More at Work

We remained intrigued from a recent post that citied a study that identified 38 ways (“interventions”) to help folks stop sitting and start standing more at work.

So we sought more ideas.
Cornell University’s Ergonomics team “presents information from research studies and class work by students and faculty in  the Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group (CHFERG).” They focus on “Human-Centered Design” and “ways to enhance usability by improving the ergonomic design of hardware, software, and workplaces, to enhance people’s comfort, performance and health in an approach we call  Ergotecture.  We recognize that this is also as an important component of the Department’s Ecotecture sustainable design approach.”
Some ideas CUErgo offers:
  • “Sit to do computer work.”
  • “Sit using a height-adjustable, downward titling keyboard tray for the best work posture, then every 20 minutes stand for 8 minutes AND MOVE for 2 minutes.”
  • “The absolute time isn’t critical but about every 20-30 minutes take a posture break and stand and move for a couple of minutes. Simply standing is insufficient.”
  • “Movement is important to get blood circulation through the muscles. And movement is FREE!
  • “Research shows that you don’t need to do vigorous exercise (e.g. jumping jacks) to get the benefits, just walking around is sufficient.”
  • “So build in a pattern of creating greater movement variety in the workplace (e.g. walk to a printer, water fountain, stand for a meeting, take the stairs, walk around the floor, park a bit further away from the building each day).”

For more inspiration, check out the TED poster below:


Too Much Sitting Hurts All of Us — Even Sports Fans?


The negative effects of too much sitting continue to get noticed.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, confirms “For every half-hour working in an office, people should sit for 20 minutes, stand for eight minutes and then move around and stretch for two minutes.” This is “based on a review of studies that he has presented at corporate seminars and expects to publish.”

The post states: “The British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year published guidelines for sitting from an international panel of experts, including Dr. Hedge. The panel recommends a combined two to four hours of standing and light activity spread throughout the workday. And research from NASA has found that standing up for two minutes 16 times a day while at work is an effective strategy for maintaining bone and muscle density.”

More confirmation on the ills of sitting via the WSJ piece: “Studies have found that sedentary behavior, including sitting for extended periods, increases the risk for developing dozens of chronic conditions, from cancer and diabetes to cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.”

For a tongue -in-cheek look at this serious problem, see the Wall Street Journal sports reporter’s lament: “Sports Sitting Will Kill Us All: Amid a growing belief in the long-term health risks of sitting, what is a sports fan to do?”