Stand Up Timer

(Or, Reminder to Avert a Simulated Microgravity Environment)


It will be time to stand up in   (minutes:seconds).

[Note 1: To enable the timer’s audio alert (a short piano melody) it may be necessary to turn on your device’s speakers and adjust your desktop or laptop computer’s browser to allow this site to play sound. Refreshing this page will manually reset the timer. Otherwise, it automatically resets.]

[Note 2: To prevent some browsers from putting the Stand Up Timer tab to “sleep” and stopping its timer, edit your browser’s ‘sleeping tabs’ setting, or, if there is none or it is unreliable, you can try the following. Open two tabs of Stand Up Timer and refresh them both at the same time. That will produce a dual audio alert. If you hear just one alert, that lets you know your browser has interrupted the other tab. The dual audio alert also helps in getting your attention to stand up.]

[Note 3: The Stand Up Timer audio alert does not function on some mobile browsers. I did find one solution–Google Chrome for Android. To keep the Stand Up Timer page active, also install Screen Alive and set it’s “Custom Timeout to “Keep screen on: Always”. I will update this page if I discover a solution for the iPhone.]

Happy young couple standing together on summer meadow with hands up

Stand up for your longevity! Literally.

Dr. Joan Vernikos (the former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals), was one of the primary doctors responsible for ensuring the health of the astronauts as they went into space, investigating the health ramifications of space travel, and what can be done to counter them. She discovered a correlation between the effects of microgravity on astronauts and the altered physical condition of bedridden test subjects on earth—a loss of muscle mass and decrease in bone density. Additional corresponding effects were seen when the astronauts were reintroduced to gravity or the test subjects rose from bed–changes in cardiovascular regulation resulted in fainting when standing up; impaired balance and coordination resulted in the shuffling of their feet. Stated more simply, inactivity (like being bedridden or sitting for long periods without standing up) results in the same physical degeneration as experienced by astronauts in microgravity. It is as if inactivity creates, for the individual, a simulated microgravity environment on earth.

While Dr. Vernikos also noticed the same physical deterioration in some elderly people, she realized that it was not because of their age, but, just like the astronauts and bedridden test subjects, it was because of the absence of interaction with earth’s gravity.

Dr. Vernikos: “What became abundantly clear to me very quickly was that gravity plays a big role in our physiological function and in the aging process. We were designed to squat. We were designed to kneel. Sitting is okay, but it’s uninterrupted sitting that is bad for us. We are not designed to sit continuously. We are not designed to be in (that) quasi-microgravity… It’s not how many hours of sitting that’s bad for you; it’s how often you interrupt that sitting that is good for you!

From Dr. Mercola: ‘Dr. Vernikos calls these types of movements gravity habits or “G habits.” These are all movements that are quantified as non-exercise activities, and the challenge is to get more of them into your daily life. When it comes to interrupting your sitting, you want to stand up around 35 times a day or so to counteract the cardiovascular health risks associated with sitting. This is based on double-blind research where volunteers would spend four days in bed to induce detrimental changes. She then tested two groups to see which was more effective, walking or standing, and how long would you have to walk or how many times do you have to stand up to get better again? Standing up once every hour was more effective than walking on a treadmill for 15 minutes for cardiovascular and metabolic changes. Sitting down and standing up repeatedly for 35 minutes does not have the same effect as standing up once, 35 times over the course of a day. To get the benefit, the stimulus must be spread throughout the day.’

Another health benefit to interrupting sitting has to do with fat metabolism. Lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that attaches to fat molecules (lipids) in your bloodstream and transports them into your muscles to be used as fuel, is, by amount, dramatically decreased in the body during inactivity. Not surprisingly, the activity that most effectively increases the amounts of lipoprotein lipase is—standing up!

Just as uninterrupted sitting is harmful, so too is uninterrupted standing. It can change the distribution of blood in the extremities, causing blood pooling, circulating plasma volume reduction, and hemodynamic changes that can significantly influence the progression of atherosclerosis. Other afflictions of uninterrupted standing include varicose veins, joint compression, and muscle fatigue.

Please feel free to use this timer at home or work—anywhere it is needed. If your circumstances prevent your sharing with others the reason for your intermittent standing, Dr. Vernikos has a suggestion. You could set your drink container on a nearby desk (with their permission) or window sill and then you could get up to drink when alerted. Whichever tactic you decide, don’t fail to interrupt sitting for your health and longevity–don’t fail to avert your personal simulated microgravity environment. The difference it makes for those who do and those who don’t will astound you. Remember, you have a basic human right to “stand up for your health”.

References, Credits– (Much thanks to Dr. Mercola for publishing his interview with Dr. Vernikos.)
Thanks to “”  and “” for sharing their knowledge of JavaScript.
Image provided through the courtesy of “@valuavitaly” at ‘

My heartfelt gratitude to my late wife, Sharon, for her conception of, tireless support of, and unfaltering belief in the Stand Up Timer project.