Sitting, Standing At Work Both Bad For You, Studies Say

BOSTON (CBS) — It seems like ever since the invention of the cubicle, we’ve heard that it’s not a good idea to sit at a desk all day–so you might think a stand-up desk would be a good idea.

But a new study out of Canada disputes that.

Canadian researchers from the Institute for Work & Health found that, for people standing up all day, blood can pool down their legs, putting more stress on the heart to circulate the blood.

The study followed 7,300 workers for 12 years, and found that people who stand all day were more likely to get heart disease.

“Workplaces have been hearing a lot lately about the health effects of prolonged sitting on the job,” Institute for Work & Health Senior Scientist Dr. Peter Smith said in a media release about the study. “Our results suggest that workplaces also need to pay attention to the health effects of prolonged standing, and target their prevention programs accordingly.”

Other researchers remind that sitting can still be detrimental.

Another study out of George Washington University found that older people who spend more than five hours a day sitting down watching TV are more likely to have difficulty walking.

George Washington University’s Dr. Loretta DiPietro says data analyzed from the National Health Institute showed that, after age 50, sitting and TV-viewing becomes particularly hazardous.

So what is good for you? Dr. Smith, who worked on the first study, said movement is key.

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

More from Carl Stevens
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