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• Standing desks have often been presented as a healthier alternative to sitting around all day.
• But new research published in the journal Ergonomics says otherwise.
• The 2017 study found that prolonged standing causes discomfort, and reduced individuals’ reaction times.
Everyone knows that sitting all day is bad for you.
But, new research from Curtin University in Australia has found that standing desks might not provide a better alternative for office workers.
The 2017 study concluded that “prolonged standing may have health and productivity impacts.” After working on computers at standing desks for two hours, study participants reported “discomfort,” “muscle fatigue,” and “lower limb swelling.”
And the problems weren’t just physical.
Participants’ reaction times and mental states “deteriorated” over the course of the experiment – although the standing desks did reportedly give people a boost when it comes to creative problem-solving.
It’s important to note that the the study only included a sample of 20 adult participants. It’s hardly the final word on standing desks.
Still, the findings aren’t unprecedented. For one thing, they largely matched with Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz’s own experience with a standing desk. She adopted one in the hopes it would boost her productivity and improve her posture. All it did was bring about physical discomfort.
This doesn’t mean that sitting for hours at a time isn’t a problem. It’s a deadly habit, in fact. Business Insider’s “Science the $#!* out of it” team found that the practice sends your blood pressure and cholesterol levels soaring, possibly leading to early death from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The solution? Frequent and regular walking breaks, Business Insider’s Erin Brodwin reported. A 2015 study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that people who walked around for two minutes every hour had a 33% lower risk of premature death than their more sedentary peers.
Or you could just spring for a bike-desk.