Standing Work Stations: Separating Fact from Fiction

I have had numerous questions lately from patients wondering about Standing Work Stations or Standing Desks.

Research was recently published that warned that sitting at work is very bad for your health. It has been shown to increase your risk of heart disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome, even if you still work out at the gym.

While I would encourage standing for most people, here is what you need to consider:

We know that sitting for long periods is bad, but is standing actually better? Some evidence points to an increased risk of other health issues, such as atherosclerosis, from excessive standing.

When using a Standing Work Station, it should be a used to vary your position rather than completely change or replace sitting.

Sometimes a common sense approach is what is needed in the face of contradictory or insufficient data.

Just like the option of using a fit ball instead of a chair; it is good to use for short periods, but long term use is likely to cause muscle fatigue, postural strain, or even an accident!

My advice for those considering a Standing Desk:

  1. Use it for short durations at first, perhaps 10 minutes at a time. Aim to eventually have a 50:50 split for standing:sitting

  2. Aim to walk around and stretch every 20 -30 minutes- even if it is around the room.

  3. If feasible, have walking meetings.

  4. Take stairs instead of the lift

  5. Move your feet around while sitting – like they advise on a long haul flight.

  6. Get your sitting and standing posture right