Health & Spirit

Stand Up to Confusion: Fake News About Standing Desks

Marilynn Preston on

Sure it will. Two hours of standing is a lot of standing. It could take days, weeks or months to build up to 120 minutes, so I'm not surprised many of the participants experienced swelling in their legs and pain in their hips and knees.

Sensation is the language of the body, and when you're standing at your desk and begin to feel any pain or discomfort or just the urge to sit down: Sit down!

It's a ridiculous study. So, dear reader, if you saw that headline, I hope you rise to the occasion and ignore it.

But here's one thing I can't ignore. The same medical doctor who sent me the stories about the new findings decided to do a little research of his own. He wasn't convinced that Levine had enough science to back up his oft-repeated claim that sitting is the new smoking. So he wrote to him, as one man of science to another, and requested the proof.

Dr. Don Simborg looked through about 100 references of Levine's for evidence that he actually directly compared the effects of sitting with the effects of smoking. He hadn't. In his email response, Levine referred to the work of another very reputable researcher, Dr. Steve Blair. Simborg told me he reviewed dozens of Blair's publications and found nothing to substantiate Levine's claim that "sitting is the new smoking."

The phrase is catchy, but is it true? Hmm... (Thank you, Dr. Simborg.)

So I won't be repeating the "Sitting is the new smoking" claim in my talks anymore, but I'll continue to strongly suggest people work at standing desks.

And when you do, don't stand still the whole time. Move around, with awareness: Bend and unbend your knees; press the balls of your big toes into the floor and spread your feet; rotate your hips.

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And when your body begins to ache or feel tired, please take a seat.

Even if the researchers from Curtin University tell you not to.


"We are sitting ourselves to death." -- Dr. James Levine


Marilynn Preston is the author of Energy Express, America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new book "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being" is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit

Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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