Standing Desks Could Pose A Negative Health Risk To Users | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Standing Desks Could Pose A Huge Health Risk

Standing desks have been a bit of an office fitness fad for the past few years, and the theory behind them is actually pretty sound. Human beings didn’t evolve to sit at desks for 12 hours each day, so if we have to be at our computers for extended periods of time we may as well do it in a way that doesn’t inhibit our natural body functioning.

In fact, there are actually a swag of studies that support the use of standing desks and report their health benefits, from reducing the risk of obesity to cancer.

However new research conducted by scientists at Curtin University have cautioned against the rising trend, suggesting that working at standing desks should come with some serious warnings.

“Due to concerns about excessive sedentary exposure for office workers, alternate work positions such as standing are being trialled,” explained the authors. “However, prolonged standing may have health and productivity impacts, which this study assessed. The observed changes suggest replacing office work sitting with standing should be done with caution.”

Specifically, the study predicts that standing desks affect productivity, and cognitive functions. The results, published in Ergonomics, observed 20 workers and their physiological responses to using standing desks.

On observation, reports of discomfort in lower back and limbs significantly increased as a result of usage. Mental reactions were also identified to suffer after only 90 minutes of use, although the study did suggest that ‘creative thinking’ was increased.

The new research is further confirmation of risks associated with prolonged periods of standing. According to a 2015 study published by the US National Library of Medicine, standing for work can lead to swollen veins, and a host of cardiac problems.

With standing desks going for upwards of $300, it seems that it may be safer for your body (and wallet) to steer clear. However regular standing and movement still holds a place in a healthy workplace and the research supporting this cannot be ignored.

Our suggestion? Try to incorporate movement into your otherwise sedentary day with walking meetings, getting up to talk to co workers instead of emailing your boss from 5 metres away, and squeezing in a few more trips to the office kitchen.

By Mens Health Staff

More From

Finding balance: how yoga can help you defy ageing

Finding balance: how yoga can help you defy ageing

Step into the world of wellness with Manoj Dias, your aficionado and fearless trend-chaser. In this column, we're delving deep into the hottest and obscure wellness trends and having candid conversations with pop culture icons. Our mission? Demystify wellness and bring it down to earth for all. First up, Dias recalls his first yoga class and reveals how the ancient practice can help fortify your mind and body as you age.

Isaac Humphries is unshackled

Isaac Humphries is unshackled

After coming out in November 2022, the Adelaide 36ers centre remains the only openly gay professional basketball player in the world. With the NBL's Champion Pride Round underway, Humphries reflects on his journey and the reasons why he’s playing the best basketball of his career.