Standing at your desk for too long can cause physical discomfort and brain drain
Standing desks could cause more harm than good.
A new study suggests that standing at your desk for long periods at a time can affect your physical health and ability to concentrate at the office.
Researchers at Curtin University in Australia had 20 volunteers stand at a computer desk in a lab for two hours while recording any physical discomfort or changes in their cognitive focus. All of the participants said they experienced swelling in legs thighs and feet, and felt physically uncomfortable in other various parts of their bodies that worsened as they continued standing.
Participants also said their overall focus decreased the longer they stood up. There were, however, some positive results like people’s ability to perform creative problem solving tasks on their feet.
“The bottom line is that this expansion [of standing desks] has been driven more by commercial reasons than scientific evidence,” Alan Taylor, a physiotherapy expert at Nottingham University told The Chicago Tribune. “But the evidence is catching up and it’s showing there are some drawbacks.”
Standing desks have been hyped up recently with reports suggesting that sitting is the new smoking. One study found that sitting for hours at a time was linked to heart and circulation problems. People who sit for 10 hours or more tend to have above average levels of troponin in their blood, which is a protein produced by heart muscles when they are unhealthy.
While it’s not necessary to give up your standing desk, research suggests employees alternate between sitting and standing for a few hours at a time throughout the day.
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