Is standing more at work good for us?

Over the past few years the Sports Doctors and Physiotherapists at The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre have discussed with a number of our patients the potential health benefits of standing more and being more active at work. We have encouraged patients to explore the option of adopting standing desks as a measure to reduce the amount of time spent sitting at work. It is now generally well recognised that prolonged, uninterrupted sitting is associated with poor general health outcomes as well as postural/ musculoskeletal discomfort.

Encouragingly recent studies have shown a link between the use of standing desks and a reduction in low back pain and fatigue levels in office workers. Also, not surprisingly, workers using standing desks are more active and sit less whilst at work.

Recently some researchers decided to look at whether or not the change to standing more at work was reflected in any changes in worker’s activity patterns outside of work. Disturbingly they found that when office workers began using the standing desks at work they were less active and spent more time sitting outside of work. The increased sedentary behaviour at home cancelled out much of the potential benefit of the changes at work.

So if we are looking to reduce our disease risk and maintain musculoskeletal health by standing more and sitting less it is important that we take the whole day (not just working hours) into consideration. It follows that it’s not going to lead to the desired health outcomes if we compensate for one positive change in one part of the day with negative changes in another. For instance we would gain little if we followed up a healthy breakfast with an unhealthy lunch. So it seems that we must remind ourselves to develop strategies to stand and move more and sit less throughout the day in order to get the benefits of standing more at work.

If you are interested in discussing the potential health benefits and appropriate strategies for standing and moving more and sitting less throughout the day an appointment can be made with our Physiotherapists or Sports Doctors.  Please phone 9650 9372 or book online.