Which is Worse: Sitting or Standing in the Workplace?

One workplace wellness component we’ve written about extensively deals with sedentary employees. We are big fans of encouraging your workers to get up and move, whether through standing desks and pedometers or through walking meetings.

However, like any wellness initiative, it is possible to take standing at work too far. According to research published in Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, prolonged standing can also be detrimental to one’s health.

Here are the details on sitting vs. standing in the workplace.

Should I Sit or Should I Stand?

The Dangers of Staying Sedentary

There are countless studies that highlight the dangers of remaining seated for too long during the day. One recent study from Annals of Internal Medicine found that sedentary people had a 24% higher likelihood of dying from health issues during the studies (all of which lasted anywhere from 1 to 16 years) when compared to less sedentary people. The researchers stated that sitting for over 8 hours a day increased your risk of health problems.

Another study with almost 800,000 participants revealed that individuals who sat for the longest period compared to those who sat for the least experienced:Back Pain

  • A 112% increase in diabetes risk
  • A 147% increase in cardiovascular health issues
  • A 90% increase in cardiovascular-related mortality
  • A 49% increase in mortality

How Standing Can Be Bad for You

Clearly, sitting for too long has its serious consequences, but standing can also have negative health effects as well.

Prolonged standing, experienced by workers who must stand for over 75% of their workdays, can cause short-term health problems, including backaches, leg cramps, and fatigue. In time, these can evolve into bigger musculoskeletal health issues. Long-term muscle fatigue can lead to costly medical expenses that burden individuals and their employers, lead to an increase in sick days and drop in productivity, and more.

Everything in Moderation

From all this research, we can conclude that the key to the sit vs. stand issue is moderation. Just as sitting for too long can cause problems, so too can standing for long periods. Employers must take precautions to ensure that their workforce is given adequate opportunity to rest (if their position requires lots of standing) or to move around (if their position requires lots of sitting).

Test Smartly Labs nationwide are equipped to provide health and wellness assistance. Our expertise includes workplace wellness programming, occupational health compliance, and more. To get started, find your nearest location today!



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