Standing May Be as Bad as Sitting

Sitting may be the new smoking, but a recent study suggests that standing desks present health hazards of their own.

A man stands at work.

We’ve heard of the hazards of sitting all day at work, but standup desks may not be the ideal answer. A 2015 University of Michigan study found that prolonged standing can contribute to musculoskeletal problems in the back and legs.

The researchers examined both immediate and long-term effects of standing, studying 26 workers who stood for five hours a day with several five-minute seated breaks and a 30-minute lunch. At the end of the day, workers reported swollen feet, sore leg muscles, aching backs, and “fatigue that persisted after the end of the workday,” notes study author Bernard Martin, PhD, associate professor at the University of Michigan Center for Ergonomics.

The solution? Move often. Martin recommends switching between sitting, standing, and walking around over the course of an hour to avoid prolonged time in the same position.

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