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GET UP, STAND UP: Northern Star journalist Helen Hawkes recently made the switch to a standing desk and has found it less tiring.
GET UP, STAND UP: Northern Star journalist Helen Hawkes recently made the switch to a standing desk and has found it less tiring. Cathy Adams

AN increasing body of research is refuting the old stereotype that working hard means sitting at your desk for long periods of time.

The most recent research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, claims that office workers should spend a minimum of two hours on their feet during work hours to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses.

The research, compiled by a panel of international experts, recommended the daily two-hour quoted of standing and light walking during work hours, eventually be bumped up to four hours.

It said this time should be accumulated throughout the day by regularly breaking up seated based work with standing work, through the use of adjustable sit-stand work desks.

"For those working in offices, 65-75% of their working hours are spent sitting," the report said.

"The evidence is clearly emerging that a first 'behavioural' step could be simply to get people standing and moving more frequently as part of their working day."

Studies have also found standing at work can help maintain energy levels and alertness by recruiting more muscle fibres, stimulating blood flow.

A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that standing at work can lower worker's calorie intake by suppressing appetite with light activity.

"The intervention reduced sitting time at work by 21% and sedentary time by 4.8 min/work-hr," the study found. "It also increased overall sense of well-being, energy, decreased fatigue, had no impact on productivity, and reduced appetite and dietary intake."

Northern Star journalist Helen Hawkes has recently made the switch.

"I've been sitting at a desk for nearly 30 years but I started standing because my back and muscles were very stiff," she said.

"Standing up has made a big difference to back pain as well as my energy levels.

"What I've found is I get less tired standing up.

"It is good to mix sitting and standing, though, as standing all the times can be hard on the legs and the circulatory system."

Topics:  chronic illness health office workers sitting

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