Researchers look at work standing up
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to take part in the study.