Several studies have associated long periods of time spent sitting with poor health outcomes. Office furniture makers have started coming out with desks that adjust in height and allow you to sit or stand at work. A small study has found that these desks may help you reduce the amount of time sitting down.
Researchers used motion trackers on 69 middle-aged employees of a company in the Midwest over a 5-day period to see how much time they spent sitting, standing, and walking around the office. Most of the participants were women. The people who used sit-stand workstations had typically had them for an average of nearly 2 years. The employees who used traditional desks had been using the same one for more than 6 years.
People with sit-stand desks spent about 60 minutes more on their feet during the workday and 66 fewer minutes sitting down than their colleagues who worked at regular desks. In addition to standing more, workers with sit-stand desks appeared to walk more and expend more energy on physical activity over the course of the day, but these differences were small and may have been due to chance. The novelty of the desks had not worn off in the years since they had been introduced for those using them.
The study also found that most of the extra time people spent out of their seats was spent standing still.
The study also looked to see if the extra standing and walking was linked to better health by measuring factors like blood cholesterol levels, body weight, and waist circumference. There were no differences based on desk type, although more steps taken during the day was linked to slightly lower blood pressure.
The study is a small one and the group of employees who participated were largely similar; middle-aged, overweight white women at a single workplace.
The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.