- Lake Washington Physical Therapy
Jocelyn Riordan, PT, DPT
Erin Benetau (Tableau Software)
Jamie Guzzi (Fly Fitness)
Take A Stand Against Sitting: The Use of Sit to Stand Desks in the Workplace Prolonged time spent in sitting has been linked to increased incidence of low back and neck pain as well as associated with risk factors for negative cardio-metabolic health1. Sitting or lying down for hours at a time causes the body’s large muscles to remain inactive, triggering a harmful cascade of physical and metabolic changes that can create negative long-term consequences8. Study results have demonstrated associations of sitting with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and premature mortality3. Even in those individuals who are able to meet the recommended 150 minutes/week of physical activity, sitting for the majority of the work day will still have the associated negative health risk6. However, research has shown that frequent breaks in sedentary activity can help to combat these negative effects and work to reduce health risk4.
During the typical eight hour work day, desk based office workers sit for an average of six hours, with most of that sitting occurring in prolonged bouts. Height-adjustable workstations, also known as “sit-to-stand desks” are a potentially feasible option to reduce extended periods of sitting in the workplace4. These desks offer the ability to alternate between sitting and standing without disrupting work practices6. Sit-to-stand desks were originally designed for workers suffering from musculoskeletal discomfort such as neck pain, low back pain or wrist pain. Recently, research has supported the effectiveness of these desks in not only reducing musculoskeletal pain, but also in combating the negative effects of the sedentary office work day7. Some of the most recent studies followed up with individuals by questionnaire, CT scans, and Oxygen consumption which support a ratio of 3:1. Three minutes of standing for every one minute of sitting.
There are a variety of sit to stand desks available and a number of strategies to help implement breaks during the work day. Your physical therapist can work with you to improve body posture and positioning, evaluate proper ergonomics for the workplace and develop a plan to prevent prolonged bout of sitting.
Ways to Prevent Prolonged Sitting Link
- Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to stand up and move every 30-60 minutes
- Use a sit to stand desk and change from a sitting to standing position regularly throughout the work day
- Drink water (getting up to refill the water bottle or use the restroom helps break up the monotony of sitting)
- Stand during phone calls
Types of Ergonomic Work Stations
- Work EZ Standing Desk - Rise Up
- WorkFit C or WorkFit S
- LIFT standing desk - Wobble Stool
- CHANGEdesk Take a stand against prolonged sitting and improve your overall health!
1. Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Craig CL, Bouchard C. Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009;41(5):998-1005
2. Husemann B, Von Mach CY, Borsotto D, Zepf KI, Scharnbacher J. Comparisons of musculoskeletal complaints and data entry between a sitting and a sit-stand workstation paradigm. Hum Factors 2009;51(3):310-20.
3. Marshall S, Gyi D. Evidence of health risks from occupational sitting. Where do we stand? Am J Prev Med 2010;39(4):389-91.
4. Chau JY, der Ploeg HP, van Uffelen JGZ, Wong J, Riphagen I, Healy GN, et al. Are workplace interventions to reduce sitting effective? A systematic review. Prev Med 2010;51(5):352-6.
5. Ergonomic Workstation. Uncaged Ergonomics, Inc. Retrieved on 05/08/2016. Retrieved by: <http://www.uncagedergonomics.com>.
6. Neuhaus, M., Eakin, E. G., Straker, L., Owen, N., Dunstan, D. W., Reid, N. and Healy, G. N. (2014), Reducing occupational sedentary time: a systematic review and meta-analysis of evidence on activity-permissive workstations. Obesity Reviews, 15: 822–838
7. Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Salmon J, et al. Breaks in sedentary time: Beneficial associations with metabolic risk. Diabetes Care. 2008; 31(4):661–6
8. Howard, B. “The Health Risks of Sitting Too Much”. Huffington Post. Retrieved by: <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/29/sitting-health-risks-_n_5692271.html>.