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Standing desks may lead to back pain, brain drain


Standing desks, compared to conventional office seating, have been lauded for easing back pain, boosting alertness and helping people to lose weight.

But new research suggests that using standing desks may actually not be as good for you as previously believed. A small but provocative study suggests that standing at a desk for a prolonged period of time can lead to “significant” discomfort and mental sluggishness.

That’s what researchers at Curtin University in Australia found when they studied 20 adult subjects who undertook two hours of laboratory-based standing computer work.

“Over time, discomfort increased in all body areas,” they wrote in the journal Ergonomics. “Sustained attention reaction time deteriorated,” they added, but “creative problem solving improved.”

Standing desks no cure-all: report

The bottom line, researchers noted, is that “prolonged standing should be undertaken with caution.”

The advice backs up a 2016 report in which adverse effects of standing were found to include “an increase in back pain or varicose veins or being more tired at the end of the day.”

Professor Alan Taylor, a physiotherapy expert at Nottingham University in England, told the Telegraph that standing desks are “not a panacea ....” And whether you sit or stand at your job, be sure to make time for a walk.