Standing Desks Could Be Harmful For Your Health

Pastor gets standing ovation after admitting sexual incident with teen
Using standing desks for long periods of time could be as dangerous as prolonged sitting. Standing for two hours has been linked to discomfort and decreased mental reactiveness.
  ( Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP/Getty Images )

Studies have shown that sitting at a desk for too long is associated with long-term health problems but a growing number of studies also show similar danger with standing for a long time.

Sitting And Standing For Prolonged Periods Of Time

In a 2017 study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers said that sitting for over 13 hours a day is linked to early death even for those who exercise.

Concerns over the potentially deadly effects of sitting for a long time led many people to turn to standing desks. Standing desks, which cost about hundreds of dollar, have become popular in offices worldwide as managers and owners think that using them can help their workers lose weight, be more alert and reduce back pain. Findings of a new research, however, challenge these views.

Effects Of Standing For 2 Hours

In a study published in the journal Ergonomics, Richelle Baker, from Curtin University in Australia, and colleagues found evidence showing that standing desks may not be that good after all.

By observing 20 individuals working at standing desks for two hours, the researchers found that standing for prolonged periods can significantly increase discomfort particularly in the lower back and lower limb regions.

The findings correlate with those of previous research that suggest standing desks may cause swelling of the veins that can endanger the heart.

They also observed that standing for two hours can deteriorate mental reactiveness. The researchers found that the mental reactiveness of the participants slowed down after about an hour and a quarter albeit their "creative" decision making improved.

Caution Against Prolonged Standing

The researchers said that these observed changes suggest prolonged standing needs to be undertaken with caution.

"The observed changes suggest replacing office work sitting with standing should be done with caution," the researchers wrote in their study.

"There are health risks associated with prolonged standing. In a laboratory study involving 2 h prolonged standing discomfort increased (all body areas), reaction time and mental state deteriorated while creative problem-solving improved."

Although the study involves only 20 people, the findings back up results of more extensive studies that have shown standing for too long also has its unhealthy consequences.

In a study published in the September 2017 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, and which involved more than 7,000 people, researchers found that those who often stand at work for prolonged periods of time are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and other health issues.

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