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Sitting is the new smoking

In recent years there has been much debate as to how we should conduct our working lives without causing ourselves physical harm. Should we sit? Should we stand? What can we do to reduce the health risks associated with both options? This article highlights the health issues associated with both sitting and standing, and highlights how AFS-TEX Systems may have the solution for counteracting many of the negative impacts.

Is sitting too much bad for you?

Global studies show that on average we sit for 7.7 hours a day, and some results have estimated that many sit for up to 15 hours a day.

In many cases, we sit as we commute, work, eat and in our leisure time - while watching TV, for example.

James A Liven, Prof of Medicine & Director of Obesity Solutions at the Mayo Clinic & Arizona State University states "Today our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named 'sitting disease'. Sitting is more dangerous than smoking..."

Studies have shown some dramatic effects caused by sitting for long periods of time: and it has been identified as a key risk factor for four out of the seven leading causes of death in the western world: Heart Disease, Cancer, Stroke and Diabetes.

What's more, studies have also shown that regular exercise does not counteract the effects of prolonged sitting, the only way to reduce the negative impact of prolonged sitting is to not do it.

So, is standing better?

Research into workers who stand for four hours or more each day highlighted that it leads to aching muscles, corns, bunions, as well as excess pressure on hip, knee and ankle joints. Other symptoms may also include lower-limb swelling, varicose veins and back pain.

Alan Hedge, Professor of Ergonomics at Cornell University says "If what you're doing is replacing sitting with standing, you're not actually doing your body any favours, in fact, you're introducing a whole variety of new risk factors".

Fortunately, many of these risk factors may be avoided by simply alternating between sitting and standing on a regular basis. Alan Hedge continues... "If you go from sitting to standing and vice versa frequently throughout the day... that completely eradicates any of the supposed risk factors associated with sitting, or indeed with standing".

In summary, it's important to both stand and sit during the day, and let your body tell you when it's time to move. It's this combination of sitting and standing that will benefit your wellbeing.

Gavin Bradley, director of Active Working, along with Public Health England state: "It's all about mixing it up. Metabolism slows down 90% after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20%. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again. These things are so simple..."

The AFS-TEX Systems by Floortex have been designed specifically as a response to the criteria identified above. It is our range of anti-fatigue mats that provide the best solution to optimising the standing worker's comfort levels, while also encouraging new users to stand more and importantly, to move more, with unique 'trigger features' built into each mat. These triggers stimulate movement and are designed to promote and encourage small, repetitive changes in standing position, critical in stimulating blood flow, to improve circulation and increase fatigue relief.

If you are interested in stocking the AFS-TEX Systems range of anti-fatigue mats, please contact us at

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