Is standing at work harmful for my health?

Sitting vs standing at work

A large percentage of us sit for a good 8 hours a day, up to 1920 hours a year! The outcome of this has been a rise in sedentary behavior, increased incidence of back and neck problems, and a 125% increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease. 

One solution has been the introduction of stand up desks for office workers, allowing people to take a break from sitting. With the introduction of something new comes the research on the effectiveness and safety of the product in question. The research is showing that standing may, in fact, lead to an increased risk of heart disease. It was found that people who primarily stand on the job are twice as likely to develop heart disease as people who primarily sit. 

When we stand for prolonged period's blood pools in the legs, which raises the pressure in your veins, which increases oxidative stress and can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. Bear in mind this is due to prolonged standing and would affect people whose jobs involved not being able to readily sit. Occupations which may contribute to this, might include chefs, sales and service workers, food and beverage worker, etc. Being able to provide these workers with the opportunity to sit is going to become significant in workplace health and safety. 

So what about the stand up desk? 

Sitting too much—even among people who exercise regularly—led to higher rates of hospitalisation, heart disease and cancer, as well as early death, found Dr. David Alter, a heart expert from the University of Toronto and senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. 


You must be thinking you’re in a no-win situation. Stand too much and risk your health, sit too much and risk your health! 

So what’s the answer? 

Mix it up and regularly. You may have heard the saying (and very possibly from me) that your best posture; is your next posture. A good rule of thumb is to change your posture every 20min, fidget, move. Every 30-40min get up from your desk and move around for 2 minutes – get a drink, make a call standing up. If you have a stand up desk now would be a good time to spend the next 20min working while you stand. Do this on a rotation and try and get outside for a walk at some stage.