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SITTING VS. STANDING AT WORK

A man in discomfort sitting at a table holds his lower back
A man with a backache

The latest research continues to show that prolonged sitting at work creates a multitude of health problems including obesity and increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers all of which can lead to a shortened life expectancy. Even if you exercise regularly, the risks are still there. With so many people having desk or computer related jobs where prolonged sitting seems almost inevitable, standing desks are gaining popularity. The question is, are they really the best solution?

Standing in itself helps to increase circulation, boost metabolism, activate more muscle groups and burn more calories. It also increases alertness and attention span, often resulting in greater productivity. The downside to standing all day is fatigue which can lead to poor posture. Wearing shoes with good support becomes an important part of maintaining good posture while standing. Prolonged standing can also result in swelling of the lower legs and increased risk of varicose veins.

While standing at work appears to have more benefits than sitting, the answer is still to change positions frequently and get up and move around as often as possible. The ideal solution would be to have a work area that allows for both sitting and standing positions whether it is an adjustable desk or a standing desk with an adjustable height chair. Another option is to designate specific work tasks as tasks that can be done in standing such as talking on the phone, answering email, etc. Find creative ways to walk more during the work day by getting up and walking over to talk to a coworker instead of emailing, take the stairs or take a brief walk during break times.

Remember, every little bit helps and the more you move, the healthier you will be!