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The new trend of standing at your desk is taking over. We look at whether it's a healthy way to boost productivity, or a distracting waste of time.
If you work at a large company, you probably have at least one coworker who's using a standing desk. The trend took off after several studies found that sitting all day DOUBLES our risk of diabetes and heart disease - even for people who hit the gym every day. But before you jump on the standing desk bandwagon, here's what you need to know:
- Cornell University ergonomics professor Dr. Alan Hedge says the real health risk isn't from sitting. It's from being STATIONARY. In other words, even if you're standing, if you stay in one place all day - without walking around, or using on a treadmill - you won't be any healthier than if you were sitting all day.
- Standing up has its downsides. Ask any waiter or assembly line worker. Standing for long periods puts a strain on your bones and your back. It also increases your risk of painful varicose veins - especially for women. And standing puts just enough stress on your circulatory system to increase your risk of plaque build-up in the all-important carotid artery. Which significantly raises your risk of a stroke.
- What's the fix? Dr. Hedge says that - whether you're sitting or standing - you should take a break every 20 minutes and go for a short walk. Even if it's a 2-minute pace around your office while you're on the phone. Our expert says that's enough to counter the negative effects of maintaining one position for prolonged periods of time.