Is prolonged standing at work good or bad?
Travis Saunders at Obesity Panacea has an interesting post describing a new study of schoolkids using standing desks for an entire school year. Among the findings: the kids chose to stand rather than sit 91% of the time; the kids burned 10.8 more calories per hour when standing; and the overweight kids in particular burned 22.8 more calories per hour. All good stuff — and more importantly, this seems like a great way to minimize the serious problems like heart disease and metabolic problems that seem to be associated with too much time spent sitting down.
But is standing up all day really a good solution? It used to be that occupations like check-out clerk were seen as bad for health because employers forced cashiers to stand up all day. Even a cursory glance at the research finds plenty of studies linking prolonged occupational standing to lower back pain, varicose veins and nighttime leg cramps, and chronic venous disorders more generally.
I’ve definitely been considering the idea of switching to a standing workstation — and the cheapest option would definitely be a simple, non-adjustable desk. But it’s not clear to me that standing all the time is any better than sitting all the time. I suppose you could simply use a high chair or stool to sit at your standing desk. But I’m leaning toward the conclusion that the investment in an adjustable desk may be worthwhile.