Standing at work can reduce back pain
Standing for 30 minutes at a time may help alleviate back pain for people who typically for long periods of time at work, according to a new study.
Scientists at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia recruited 17 middle-aged men and six women, who were randomly assigned to two groups. One group was asked to sit while working for eight hours, while the other group was asked to alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes for the same amount of time. The workers did this for five days, after which they switched roles for five more days.
At the end of each work week, the participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their fatigue levels, aches and pains and productivity.
The researchers found that the workers who alternated sitting and standing experienced about 15 percent less fatigue than did those who only sat while working. The sit-stand group also experienced 32 percent less lower back pain and 14 percent less pain in their ankles and feet. Both groups reported having about the same productivity levels.
The study's findings, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, adds evidence that supports the benefits of reducing sedentary behavior, researchers said. Experts suggest office workers get more standing time by walking over to talk to colleagues instead of emailing, taking stairs instead of elevators or considering getting a standing desk.