Odds are, you already know about the scary things that sitting can do to your health. But we have some bad news: Your standing desk may be doing more harm than good, too.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology is among the growing body of research on the health hazards of prolonged standing. Over a 12-year period, researchers monitored the risk of heart disease among more than 7,000 Canadian workers across a variety of occupations. Researchers grouped the workers into four categories, based on the body position required for their jobs: those who mostly sit, mostly stand, a mix of the two, or use a range of other positions such as crouching or kneeling.
After controlling for a wide range of other factors, the data showed that people who primarily stand at work are twice as likely to develop heart disease as people who primarily sit. Prolonged standing can cause blood to pool in the legs, increase pressure on the veins, and contribute to oxidative stress—all of which can increase one’s risk of heart disease, the researchers say.
In fact, the likelihood of heart disease among those respondents whose jobs required them to stand for long periods of time (6.6 percent) was comparable to that of workers who smoked on a daily basis (5.8 percent) and those who were obese (6.9 percent). Doctors need you to stop doing these 11 bad health habits ASAP, too.
But don’t throw your standing desk out just yet! Prolonged standing throughout the day—not constantly switching between sitting and standing—is the more likely culprit of heart disease in this study. It’s obvious that extended periods of sitting isn’t the only health hazard in the workplace, though. Now, researchers say, “workplace wellness programs should focus on reducing prolonged standing at work, just as they target smoking and unhealthy diet habits, to curb cardiovascular disease.”
Stuck in a cubicle all day? Here’s