You would have to be living under a rock these past few years not to have heard about the health/productivity hazards of prolonged sitting either in the home or at the office.  So it is going to cause more than a few raised eyebrows to learn that standing for too long a period also has a negative impact on worker productivity and health.


A new study published in the Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has added to a growing body of evidence that shows standing for prolonged periods causes (at the very least) long term fatigue, leg cramps, and lower extremity and/or back injury.


Sit or Stand? Which is Better?


That should be a sobering fact for the millions that have opted for standing desks. Obviously, this has far reaching implications when one considers that nearly 50% of all employees worldwide stand for approximately 75% of their workday.


So, we can’t stand all day and we can’t sit all day, what is the answer? To date, as far as we know, no definitive study has determined what is the proper ratio of sitting to standing during the day. Using evolutionary observation as a guide it would seem that workers would benefit most from work environments that allowed them to keep moving through out the day. By remaining upright and in motion they can combat the negative consequences of both sitting and standing in one spot for too long.


The study authors from the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich found evidence of significant long-term fatigue after five-hour standing workdays, despite the inclusion of regularly spaced seated breaks. This fatigue persisted for a period of at least 30 minutes following a seated recovery period as well. These finding were consistent independent of workers ages.


"Long-term fatigue after prolonged standing work may be present without being perceived," stated Maria Gariela García. "Current work schedules for standing work may not be adequate for preventing fatigue accumulation, and this long-lasting muscle fatigue may contribute to musculoskeletal disorders and back pain."


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