A study was released recently that showed office workers who took a break from sitting every 30 minutes were able to lower insulin and blood glucose significantly throughout the day. Most T1’s are acutely aware of this and need no study to confirm it. Indeed, every time I try to sit at a desk and get some work done, my BG will rise. If I’m relatively fasted (haven’t eaten for 4 – 5 hours), then my BG will remain stable. But if I’ve eaten anything within 2 hours of sitting down, my BG will skyrocket. Even if the meal was low to no carb, I have to be careful not to sit at a desk after eating. Reclining on a couch is different and not as injurious to BG. I believe this is because while reclined our circulation is not quite as restricted as when we are seated in front of a computer or in a car seat.
I am a teacher so I spend a lot of time on my feet. This certainly helps keep insulin and BG down, but there are still times I must get on a computer or grade papers. Recently I purchased a stand-up workstation from Ergotron. I highly encourage everyone to get a stand-up workstation, but even more so for T1’s. I like the Workfit by Ergotron because you can switch between sitting and standing very quickly and easily using a simple brake release. I can stand for much of my work and sit for a few minutes when the feet and back start to get uncomfortable. After 10-15 minutes of sitting, I just go back to standing and BG levels remain predictable (as predictable as BG gets with T1, of course).
The usual warnings apply. Check your BG frequently if you get a stand-up desk, but are used to sitting most of the day. I think you’ll find you’ll need less insulin. In addition, build up standing time slowly so you don’t develop foot or heal problems like plantar fasciitis. Finally, a short stool placed in front of your feet can help to shift weight back and forth to keep blood circulating through your lower legs.