Re­searchers look at work stand­ing up

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

From a car, to a desk and then to a couch.

Lots of us spend a large chunk of our day sit­ting down and Unitec Mas­ter of Os­teopa­thy stu­dent Dan Archer says it could be do­ing us harm.

He is con­duct­ing a study us­ing stand­ing desks along­side fel­low clin­i­cal stu­dent Shee­han Robb to see what ef­fect sit­ting for long pe­ri­ods of time has on peo­ple’s health.

Archer says there is ev­i­dence to sug­gest that sit­ting for as lit­tle as two hours a day can have neg­a­tive ef­fects.

Peo­ple who sit for long, un­in­ter­rupted pe­ri­ods of time may be at greater risk of de­vel­op­ing high blood sugar lev­els, blood fats and choles­terol which can lead to type II di­a­betes, stroke and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, he says.

‘‘There are dif­fer­ent mech­a­nisms in­volved when you stand up with re­gards to the me­tab­o­lism of cer­tain fats and choles­terol in the body. You ex­pend more en­ergy when you stand up, even though it’s a small amount.’’

The 21-week study will equip six Auck­land desk-bound of­fice work­ers aged be­tween 25 and 40 with the abil­ity to change their seden­tary be­hav­iour by ditch­ing their chairs to use a stand­ing desk.

A move­ment mon­i­tor will record how much time peo­ple spend sit­ting and stand­ing dur­ing the day.

Af­ter five weeks of mon­i­tor­ing the per­son’s nor­mal daily rou­tine, a stand­ing desk will be pro­vided for them to use in their work­place. From week nine they will be asked to spend as much time as pos­si­ble stand­ing at their desk.

Ev­ery four weeks the weight and waist cir­cum­fer­ence of par­tic­i­pants will be recorded and they will give a blood sam­ple to mea­sure blood sugar, choles­terol and blood fats.

Grey Lynn res­i­dent Amy Baker has used a stand­ing desk since a physio rec­om­mended she not sit down for long pe­ri­ods of time af­ter back in­juries in 2006 and 2013.

A stand­ing desk im­proves her en­ergy lev­els and al­lows her to con­cen­trate for longer, she says.

‘‘It’s made a huge dif­fer­ence to me for sure. For most peo­ple it can feel quite strange at first be­cause peo­ple aren’t re­ally ac­cus­tomed to see­ing it in a work­place.’’

Baker al­ter­nates be­tween sit­ting and stand­ing through­out the day. ‘‘I wouldn’t spend more than 20 min­utes to half an hour stand­ing be­fore sit­ting down again.’’

Robb will talk to par­tic­i­pants about their ex­pe­ri­ence us­ing the desk dur­ing the study.

‘‘I want to find out what they did and didn’t like, whether they feel bet­ter and if they feel more or less con­fi­dent,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s also im­por­tant to hear about their pro­duc­tiv­ity be­cause if you’re not get­ting enough work done at a stand-up desk then you’re worse off.’’

Go to the­s­tand­ingstudy.co.nz for more in­for­ma­tion. Email info@the­s­tand­ingstudy.co.nz to take part in the study.

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