Sitting Is The New Smoking: How Standing Can Extend Your Time On Earth

The average American spends thirteen hours a day sitting.... Thirteen hours!!! Add in another eight for sleep and that’s twenty-one hours we spend sedentary every single day. No wonder so many of us are dying premature deaths: we've become lazy as a species.

"Research is showing links between sedentary lifestyles and diabetes, several types of cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease." - Jane Payfer, Vice President of Marketing at Ergotron.

We sit through school, through college, through work, and then, through retirement. It’s time for us to recognize sitting as a major concern for the future of humanity.

I’m Going to Put This Bluntly

If our ancestors sat on their asses for 21 hours a day, we would no longer exist as a species. Humans were meant to move, to stretch, and more specifically, to run. Paired with the most advanced cognitive system in the animal kingdom, our natural ability to move and run is the reason we are alive and thriving today. Over long distances, humans can outrun almost every other animal on Earth. The benefits of running are tremendous, but let’s start small for now.


Aside from its obvious health benefits, standing can be used to make you appear more attractive by helping you burn an additional 300-500 calories per day. After a few months, you may even be able to fit into that tight pair of jeans you still have from college. Once you see just one small, positive change in your life, you’ll be motivated to do even more for your health.

Sitting isn’t only leading to a plethora of diseases and back problems, it is also robbing us of our intelligence. Movement fuels the brain. Without it, our brains will slowly rot along with the rest of our bodies. Sitting is slowly killing us.

Stand Up Kids

Recently, Tim Ferriss helped raise $100,000 to fund America’s first ever standing school, Vallecito Elementary in San Rafael, California.

Studies show allowing kids to move during the day can improve grades – up to 15 percent – and help kids burn up to 25 percent more calories.”  - Dr. Steven Mittelman, Children’s Hospital Director of Diabetes & Obesity.

Although the sample size is small, there has already been an uptick in productivity, creativity, and intelligence in the classroom. Compound that over thirteen years of schooling and we’re bound to see a tremendous increase in the number of high school graduates making positive impacts on the world.  

Stand Up Adults

More important than implementing standing desks into every elementary school is getting every adult in the workplace to adopt the standing desk. As kids, we naturally spend our free time doing cartwheels, rolling on the floor, stretching, and running around. As we grow older, however, we stop doing most of the activities we loved to do as kids. We spend even more time sitting.

Imagine how much healthier and happier you would feel if you were able to do the things you were able to do on the playground: climbing ropes, swinging from monkey bars, doing back flips on the trampoline, etc. I have news for you: you still can do all those things in the future, IF you decide to make a change in your life. Start with a simple change.

Our bodies are meant to move. So, why are we spending our most physically-able years sitting?

"There is a significant opportunity for people to change their behavior in the workplace and for corporations to change their cultures. Standing increases energy, burns extra calories, tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow, reduces blood sugar levels and ramps up metabolism. Frequently overlooked, standing more is the simplest, easiest change someone can make."  - Jane Payfer, Ergotron

Stop making excuses. You may be able to convince yourself that you are too busy to go to the gym, but there’s no way you can get out of this one. Switch to a standing desk at work. Get a doctor’s note, ask your boss, or just build one out of boxes you find laying around your office, like I did. Do it for yourself, for your kids, for your grandkids, for your parents, and for everyone around you. Like Ghandi instructs, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Let’s work together towards creating a healthier and more intelligent society.  

“Companies across the country are ditching traditional workspaces and "raising" employees' desks with standing desks. They're so popular the White House wants $700,000 to buy them for presidential staff.”

Replacing sitting with standing at work can be the easiest, non-invasive way to extend your time here on Earth. While burning more calories and reducing your risk of a multitude of diseases, you’ll find that you’ll actually become more productive and creative as well. Start today, those jeans collecting dust in the closet aren’t getting any bigger.

Standing is the new smoking.

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