Standing Desks combating the ‘Sitting Disease’. WorkFit-T.

Recent Research sets out the core recommendations of Standing Desks and how to combat the ‘Sitting Disease’

Research into our sedentary lifestyle certainly draws attention to the growing need for change within the office environment.

Too much sitting is directly related to negative health risks which can lead to increased risk of weight gain and obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of Cancer.

Core recommendations published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine(1) sets out the following core recommendations for occupations that are predominately desk based :-

  • ‘Initially progress towards accumulating at least 2 h/day of standing and light activity (light walking) during working hours, eventually progressing to a total accumulation of 4 h/day (prorated to part-time hours)’.Ignore the colleague in the office who says ‘why aren’t you standing’. It isn’t a race to see who can stand the longest and the goal is not to stand all day but to move easily between sitting and standing.
  • ‘Seated-based work should be regularly broken up with standing-based work and vice versa, and thus, sit–stand adjustable desk stations are highly recommended’.
    A good way to start is to look at what type of tasks are best done sitting versus standing. I have found it beneficial to stand first thing in the morning and answer my emails and plan for the day and then sitting when I am undertaking writing based work. A great way to eliminate a creativity block is simply to stand – the ideas will soon flow.
  • ‘Similar to the risks of prolonged static seated positions, so too should prolonged static standing postures be avoided; movement does need to be checked and corrected on a regular basis especially in the presence of any musculoskeletal sensations. Occupational standing and walking have, however, not shown to be causally linked to low back and neck pain, and can provide relief’.

    Good posture is the key. One thing you may notice is how bad your posture is when you sit back down after standing!! Consider having a postural check and be consciously aware of how you position your body while working.
  • ‘Those individuals new to adopting more standing-based work could expect some musculoskeletal sensations and some fatigue as part of the positive adaptive process. If such sensations cannot be relieved either by an altered posture or walking for a few minutes, then the worker should rest, including sitting, with a posture that relieves the sensations. If discomfort does persist, then seeking appropriate medical advice is recommended’.

    If you have been in a desk based job for a number of years you may be surprised at how quickly you can become fatigued when first introducing a standing desk to your office environment. Persevere the benefits are well and truly worth it!!

The benefits of technology and automation to both our personal and work lives are ginormous. Only 50 years ago many people where still turning a handle to churn their own butter, a household only had 1 car and children walked to school.

It is now time to bridge the gap between where we were and were we are now and increase activity in our everyday lives.  Fortunately there are now many cost-effective solutions available to transform the work environment and create healthier, happier and more productive work places.


(1) Buckley JP, Hedge A, Yates, T et al Br J Sports Med Published Online doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-094618