You’ve probably heard that a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for various diseases of affluence.
But, standing for hours isn’t exactly a byword for lasting health either.
A recent study conducted by a team of UK researchers showed sitting for hours is no worse for your health than standing, so if you’ve just forked out for a standing desk, it may be wise to put it away before long – and here’s why.
Much to the dismay of sit-to-stand and standing desk supporters, a study carried out by a team of Boston University experts confirmed that standing for prolonged periods of time can result in an increase in musculoskeletal pain in the lower back and feet.
In addition to increased risk of chronic lower body pains, standing for eight or more hours a day with little movement will cause blood to pool in the knees and ankles.
The Fix: When alternating between standing and sitting, ease into the change of position.
Use of anti-fatigue mats will help increase at-work comfort and prevent post-work soreness, and you can also do a brief set of stretches such as in-place marching, toe raises, and squats to engage lower body muscles and promote blood flow.
Pooling of blood in lower limbs can elevate the risk of varicose veins – and once your veins turn inflamed, you’ll be at a higher risk of blood clotting, thrombophlebitis, venous ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis.
A 12-year research program by Cornell University experts in the US which covered more than 9,000 Denmark working-age citizens found prolonged standing to be a prime cause of over 20% of hospitalization cases due to varicose vein complications.
The Fix: Instead of standing for hours on end during work, take a few breaks and move around. Ladies are also advised to avoid crossing their legs when sitting and wear shoes that comply with orthopedic standards to trim the risk of deformities such as flat feet and bunions.
If researchers are to be trusted, standing for long periods of time every day has the same effect on the circulatory system as smoking. Standing has been linked to higher risk of elevated blood pressure – and high blood pressure is known to be a factor in heart attack and stroke.
For this reason, you may want to cut even standing ovations a tad shorter, let alone intervals you spend motionless behind the counter.
The Fix: To reduce the stress prolonged standing is placing on your circulatory system, alternate between standing, sitting, walking, and stretching as often as possible and take the steps to lose weight if you have one pound too many. It’s also advisable to include a 30-minute workout into your agenda at least three or four times a week to ensure your bones and muscles stay out of harm’s way.
Various studies have confirmed that standing is a serious risk factor for spontaneous abortions and preterm birth in pregnant women.
For this reason, expecting moms are advised to spend as much time resting and engaging in light exercises such as yoga, and tai chi, and to avoid standing for hours without moving in their line of work.
The Fix: If you’re an expecting mom, use your pregnancy leave sooner rather than later.
In case you don’t watch your step and continue to stand even after you’ve learn that you’re pregnant, it can harm the baby and lead to serious pregnancy complications or even miscarriage.
All that standing isn’t doing your-long term health a favor, so put positions at work on shuffle if you want to stay out of harm’s way in years to come.
Stand up to the health risk: put standing on hold at least once an hour and shake out tension from lower limbs; your older self will thank you for the kind thought in a few years’ time.