The 411 on Sitting vs. Standing at Work


The human body was designed to move. However, as our information-based society has progressed, our days often consist of sitting idly, whether we're at work or home. In fact, studies show that on average, we spend nearly eight hours a day sitting. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to many health problems including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, back pain, and blood flow problems. But while sitting all day at work isn't beneficial for your health, is standing all day any better for you? Here are a few facts about sitting vs. standing at work.

Sitting vs. Standing

Sedentary behavior has been associated with increased rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and early mortality. Inactivity is believed to be one of the consequences of prolonged sitting on the job, causing issues with your bones and joints. This is especially troubling since many jobs and leisurely activities entail sitting.

Standing Benefits

A study by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) showed that prolonged periods of sitting are associated with poor health outcomes and metabolic risks. Fortunately, health risks may be reversible by standing periodically throughout the day. Even just standing for a couple of hours a day may substantially decrease health hazards caused from prolonged sitting.

One popular solution is to utilize a standing desk. The height of standing desks can be adjusted, allowing you to change positions and increase your activity level, blood flow, and productivity.

Standing Disadvantages

Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Researchers are finding that too much standing can be bad for you as well. A recent study in Rehabilitation Nursing found that prolonged standing leads to adverse health outcomes like low back pain, fatigue, muscle pain, leg swelling, and discomfort.

The Best of Both Worlds

It's important to integrate regular movement throughout the day to maintain optimal health. The ADA study advises that the frequency of movement is more important than the duration of mobility for overall health. Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day to be less sedentary and improve your health.

If you spend a lot of time sitting, a standing desk may be the perfect solution to help you get on your feet while working and reduce poor health outcomes. Engaging in active sitting by using a destabilizing device like a yoga ball can also assist in promoting postural awareness and correctness while seated. Whatever your position, it's imperative to practice sitting, standing, and moving with correct posture.

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