Should I sit or take a stand at the office?

It is becoming more and more popular to see employees standing at their desks while working.  So, I asked myself, which is better standing or sitting while I work?  Well, according to researchers at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) jobs that require workers to stand most of the time put their employees at a greater risk of heart disease than workers who mainly sit.

Research has shown that prolonged standing was found to have increased the risk of heart disease in workers by almost 7 percent, with those chances decreasing to less than 3 percent among employees who predominantly sat according to the Canadian study that took place over a 12 year span which followed 7,300 workers from Ontario between the ages of 35 and 74 who were initially free of heart disease.

“Workplaces have been hearing a lot lately about the health effects of prolonged sitting on the job,” senior scientists and lead researcher, Dr. Peter Smith said in a statement. “Our results suggest that workplaces also need to pay attention to the health effects of prolonged standing, and target their prevention programs accordingly.”

When researchers adjusted for such factors like: age, gender, education, ethnicity, immigrant status and marital status, health conditions, health behaviour (like smoking, drinking, exercising and body mass index) and work (like physical demands and shift schedule) the risk of developing heart disease was actually twice as high among standers than sitters.

“A combination of sitting, standing and moving on the job is likely to have the greatest benefits for heart health,” Smiths says. “Workplaces need to apply this message not just to workers who predominantly sit, but also – in fact, especially – to workers who predominantly stand.”

So, the key at the office is the same as your lifestyle; keep moving and keep active and you will be healthier in the workplace and at home.

By Jamie Barrie