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Sit or stand? What analysis says about standing desks and extended sitting

In trendy life, many people spend nearly all of our waking hours sitting. A latest overview of the analysis has reiterated the dangerous well being impacts of extended, unbroken durations of sitting.

Many workplaces have adopted sit-stand desks, which let you sit down or get up with the push of a button or lever, to scale back the harms of extended sitting.

However how significantly better is standing? And are there dangers of an excessive amount of standing? Right here’s what the analysis says in regards to the dangers of an excessive amount of sitting and standing, and whether or not it’s price investing in – or ditching – a sit-stand desk.

What are the hazards of an excessive amount of sitting

Individuals who sit quite a bit have larger possibilities of creating continual illnesses akin to kind 2 diabetes, coronary heart illness, and a few cancers, and having a shorter lifespan. Extended sitting may also result in musculoskeletal complaints, notably within the neck and again.

Extreme sitting is much more dangerous to well being amongst individuals who do little or no train or who don’t meet the beneficial ranges of bodily exercise.

Being bodily lively is vital for decreasing the well being dangers linked to being sedentary, however it could not absolutely cancel out the adverse results of spending lengthy hours sitting every day.

Extended standing is dangerous too

Prolonged durations of standing could be dangerous to musculoskeletal well being. Extended standing might result in musculoskeletal signs akin to muscle fatigue, leg swelling, varicose veins, and ache and discomfort within the low again and decrease extremities (hips, knees, ankles and ft).

Current analysis suggests limiting standing to about 40 minutes at a time, with no break, would scale back the possibilities of creating muscle and joint aches and pains as a result of extended standing. This is applicable to individuals who might or might not have had signs earlier than.

Not everybody who stands for extended durations will expertise these musculoskeletal signs, and a few folks could also be extra resilient to the results of extended standing than others.

Nevertheless, even when you take a break from standing, if in case you have beforehand developed standing-related aches and pains, you’re extra more likely to expertise them once more while you resume standing.

Break up prolonged durations of sitting

Lowering or interrupting sitting by standing up or shifting round can enhance your blood circulation, metabolism, coronary heart well being, psychological well being and lifespan.

Modelling research present that swapping one hour of sitting every day for one hour of standing results in enhancements in waist circumference, fats and levels of cholesterol.

The profit is even better when sitting is changed with strolling or moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

Interrupting extended sitting time with as little as two minutes of strolling each 20 minutes or 5 minutes of strolling each half-hour can enhance blood glucose, fats, and levels of cholesterol.

Different analysis reveals breaking apart extended sitting time with three minutes of sunshine strolling or easy resistance workout routines, akin to squats and calf raises, each half-hour can also be efficient.

Credit score: TheStandingDesk through Unsplash.

The proof on sit-stand desks

Sit-stand desks can successfully scale back sitting time throughout the workday amongst desk-based staff. Sit-stand desk customers are inclined to alternate between sitting and standing postures, as a substitute of standing up for prolonged durations.

Nevertheless, the extent of creating a brand new behavior of working whereas standing up varies, and plenty of customers revert to their earlier means of working sitting down in the long term.

Sit-stand desks alone usually are not enough to scale back desk-based staff’ sitting time. Employers and organisations should issue this into their office insurance policies, surroundings and tradition to make sure “sit much less and transfer extra” initiatives are successfully delivered and sustained.

Ought to I maintain my sit-stand desk?

If you have already got a sit-stand desk, whether or not you need to maintain or eliminate it can rely upon a variety of things.

Take into consideration your utilization patterns. Do you employ your desk commonly in a standing place, or do you primarily use it sitting down?

Contemplate your consolation. Does standing or sitting for extended durations whereas working result in any discomfort or fatigue in your physique? In that case, you could want to regulate your sit-stand routine or embody further helps, akin to a ground mat for extra comfy standing or a foot relaxation for safer sitting, to keep away from harm.

Assess your desk ergonomics. Is your sit-stand desk arrange ergonomically secure for working in each sitting and standing positions? Correct ergonomics are important to make sure you work in a secure and comfy means within the workplace and from dwelling.

Right here’s what ergonomically secure positions appear like for sitting and standing. Credit score: Secure Work Australia, CC BY 4.0.

Replicate in your well being wants. Will decreasing and breaking apart extended sitting time with standing alleviate discomfort as a result of sitting or contribute to enhancing your metabolic and coronary heart well being? Standing up and shifting round commonly all through the workday will obtain comparable advantages no matter your desk kind.

If in case you have an current well being situation or ongoing musculoskeletal signs, search recommendation from a well being care skilled or ask your employer about organising an evaluation with an ergonomics specialist. Skilled steering can assist you make an knowledgeable resolution about your sit-stand desk.

Lastly, weigh up the associated fee and house necessities of your sit-stand desk. If you’re not utilizing it in a standing place a lot, possibly it’s simply taking over house and never offering a return in your funding?

In the end, the choice to maintain or ditch your sit-stand desk will come all the way down to a steadiness of those issues.

Being bodily lively is most vital

Bodily exercise pointers from governments and health-related businesses, akin to these from Australia and the World Well being Group, advocate adults restrict the period of time spent sitting. Interrupting and changing sitting time with bodily exercise of any depth – even mild depth – has well being advantages.

The WHO additional recommends adults “purpose to do greater than the beneficial ranges of moderate- to vigorous-intensity bodily exercise” to scale back the dangerous well being results of excessive ranges of sitting.

In different phrases, simply standing is just not sufficient to scale back the harms of extended sitting. We have to sit much less and transfer extra.

Josephine Chau is Senior Lecturer in Public Well being, Macquarie College.

This text was first printed on The Dialog.

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