Standing at work is unhealthy too, new study says

We all know sitting at work can kill you in the long term, but it seems that too much standing while working is not good either. A new study says it can even double your risk of heart disease.

Essential reading: Should you really aim for 10,000 steps per day?

It seems we can’t win. Modern televisions, computers, and automobiles have forced people to spend far longer sitting down than standing up. And we’ve been told this can be very bad for our health. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been linked to cancer, type 2 diabetes and speeding up aging. Someone has even worked out from statistical analysis that chairs kill more people than smoking!

But now new research shows that standing at work can be just as unhealthy. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology looked at the workplace habits of 7,000 participants in Ontario, Canada. It found that those who primarily stand at work are twice as likely to develop heart disease as their office sitting counterparts. In fact, the incidence of heart disease among those who stand a lot at work (6.6%) is similar to those who smoked on a daily basis (5.8%) or who were obese (6.9%).

But don’t rush to ditch your standing desk just yet. The findings pertain to members of professions associated with high level of standing time, such as cashiers, sales, service workers, cooks and bank tellers. This is because being on your feet for hours on end puts pressure on veins and causes oxidative stress. It is also linked to chronic back pain and musculoskeletal disorders in the lower limbs.

Okay, so now what? Studies show that both sitting all day and primarily standing could be lethal.

If you have a job where you are standing for much of the time, there is a simple solution. Its called a chair. Take time throughout the day to take a load off your feet. Stretching is also a good idea. If, on the other hand, you are primarily a chair-dweller, the previous advice holds firm. It is recommended that you find reasons to walk around for at least 2 minutes every hour.

Essential reading: Why sitting is slowly killing you and what you can do about it

On top of that, make sure you get about 30 minutes of activity each day. That’s good advice whether you primarily sit at your job or stand. Researchers have found that people who exercise generally face lower risks of these health conditions than those who don’t exercise.

The quest for optimal workplace health grows ever more complex. The key to longevity, the study says, is to find a good mix.

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