Scientists have found that standing desks are just as bad as those you sit behind. Contrary to popular opinion, they cause a range of problems as bad if no worse than standard sedentary behavior.
Workplace interventions for sedentary behavior seem to have backfired. While physical inertness may lead to complications such as obesity, cardiac disease and increased chances of death, standing instead of sitting does not seem to help much when it comes to health matters.
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20 studies were conducted with 2174 participants. Nine of them noted down physical changes in the office while four of them noted down changes in office policy.
Seven of the studies evaluated information and counseling interventions. One of them was constant over all markers. Standing desks decreased seated time by half an hour to two hours per day, researchers write in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
When this approach was combined with other markers, the seated time decreased by the same amount as previously mentioned. Total sitting time was reduced by 30 minutes or more.
Those who worked at treadmill stations at standing desks reduced sitting time as compared to no changes being made in the environment. However, pedalling workstations did not reduce seated time.
Walking once in a while in between seated work did not reduce sitting time. Mind-fullness did not have any effect on sitting time. Counselling did not seem to add to the sitting time and neither did computer prompting software.
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In other studies though computer prompts reduced sitting time by 55 minutes. According to NPR, the main issue remains that there is no difference between sitting time in the interventionist programs and in control groups.