Exercise

Forget the Standing Desk: Perhaps You Should Be Squatting Instead

Posted on 11 March 2020

A Tanzanian tribe shows none of the disease markers associated with prolonged sitting, despite being sedentary for 9 -10 hours a day – a similar level of inactivity to office workers.

An anthropological study looked at the activity of a modern day hunter-gatherer community, the Hadza. Researchers believe that the tribe is protected from the dangers of inactivity by their use of ”active rest postures”.

Even though there were long periods of inactivity, one of the key differences we noticed is that the Hadza are often resting in postures that require their muscles to maintain light levels of activity – either in a squat or kneeling.

Dr David Raichlen, University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, lead study author

Prolonged sitting has been linked to low-grade inflammation and increased mortality from multiple causes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative disease. Squatting engages more muscle than sitting, and potentially more than standing, though comparison studies are lacking.

However, drawing conclusions from this study faces a similar challenge to previous research of its kind – controlling for lifestyle factors such as diet. The Hadza people subsist on food found in the forest: wild berries, fiber-rich tubers, honey and wild meat – a diet few office workers are likely to share!

NPR Choice page. (2020). Retrieved 11 March 2020, from https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/08/24/545631521/is-the-secret-to-a-healthier-microbiome-hidden-in-the-hadza-diet

References

Squat or kneel instead of sitting to protect your health, study finds: https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/squat-or-kneel-instead-of-sitting-to-protect-your-health-study-finds/

Squat, Don't Sit: Study of African Tribe Shows Why One Position Is Healthier: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-03-09/squat-dont-sit-study-of-african-tribe-shows-why-one-position-is-healthier

Sedentary Time and Markers of Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation in a High Risk Population: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0078350

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