You’ll want to sit for this: Too much standing is doubly dangerous

You’ve heard time and again that sitting is bad for you. It increases your risk for cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and premature death.

That’s why a lot of people in sedentary jobs have found creative ways to sit less and move more at work, like taking walking meetings, using exercise ball chairs or purchasing standing desks.

But don’t invest in a standing desk just yet, or think you have to stand a full hour during your favorite TV show…

It turns out, standing all day may not be any better for you than sitting.

Deadly trifecta for heart disease

Anyone who’s worked in retail or another service position can tell you that standing for eight (or more) hours a day is exhausting. But besides being physically tiring, it also harms your health…

The most obvious way standing hurts your health is the strain it puts on certain body parts — like your feet and your back.

Studies show that standing too much leads to chronic back pain, muskoskeletal disorders and foot problems like plantar fasciitis.

But a recent study from researchers at The Institute for Work and Health in Canada shows that standing harms your health in a hidden and more dangerous way…

It doubles your risk for heart disease — putting your health right on par with someone who smokes or suffers from obesity.

What could it be about standing that could set you up for a major heart attack or stroke?

Well, researchers say it’s because standing too long causes blood to pool in your legs, increases pressure in your veins and causes oxidative stress in your body. All of these factors on their own contribute to heart disease risk — but combined they create a deadly trifecta for heart-disease.

Stand less and stand up for your health

If you’ve already invested in a standing desk, you’re probably smacking yourself right now (don’t feel bad, I have one too!)

But you shouldn’t worry too much. Your standing desk probably won’t raise your risk for heart disease. People with a sitting/standing desk usually have the option to sit when they want to. This increased heart disease risk only seems to apply to people who are forced to stand all day at work without the option to sit.

If you can balance your standing with a little sitting — and your sitting with a little standing — in other words, move… you’ll be a lot better off. Hopefully, this study will inspire employers to make changes in the workplace for people with jobs that require them to be on their feet for hours a day.

Of course, whether you’re standing or sitting at work — or home — there is one activity most of us could use more of in our lives… walking.

Walking can lower high blood pressure, high cholesterol and your risk for diabetes — all of which are risk factors for heart disease. And if you’re a brisk walker, you can really make a difference in your heart health. A recent study found that fast walkers slashed their risk of heart-related death in half. So whenever you can, do less sitting and standing and more walking!


  1. Standing too much at work can double your risk of heart disease.” — MedicalXpress. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  2. Walk, Don’t Run, Your Way to a Healthy Heart.” — American Heart Association. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and