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Are "standing desks" the answer?

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Are "standing desks" the answer?

It’s no surprise that being sedentary isn’t healthy, but what can you do if it’s part of your job?

Inactivity is linked to a number of illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, even those who regularly engage in physical activity outside of work suffer if they have a desk job that requires sitting for long hours.

It’s no surprise that being sedentary isn’t healthy, but what can you do if it’s part of your job? Here are three different workspaces that can impact your health in different ways:

Standard (sitting) desks
Even if you spend your 9 to 5 in an office cubicle, you can employ some simple strategies to incorporate more activity when you’re at work. It can be as simple as moving recycle bins and wastebaskets farther away from your desk. These small changes make a big difference. For example, a recent study reported that even for people who worked sitting down, those who took more breaks had smaller waistlines and less inflammation.

Standing desks
Standing desks (or stand-up desks) are generating a lot of buzz. Instead of sitting down, employees stand, which requires more physical activity than sitting. While they are championed by some users, standing desks can create problems of their own, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). Some potential effects include sore feet, leg swelling, varicose veins, and back pain.

Other desk alternatives
Instead, the CCOHS recommends adjustable desks where employees can choose from a variety of positions, including standing or sitting, and change positions freely throughout the day.

One interesting study involved giving sedentary workers portable pedal machines they could choose to use while seated for four weeks. The use of the machine did not affect the workers’ productivity, and participants became more active and enjoyed using the machines, claiming that they would continue to use them regularly if offered by their employer.

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