Hannah Woodson | HealthGreatness

There’s a trend in office furniture that’s quickly gaining in popularity: sit or stand desks. There’s plenty of evidence that sitting at a desk for long days week after week can contribute to obesity and lead to heart disease, but are these sit/stand desks the answer to the problem? Maybe not.

Sit/stand desks can adjust in height so that you can have it at desk height and use a traditional office chair for seating or up at drafting table height so you can stand while you work or use a drafting stool. The thought behind these is that health problems are minimized when you’re not sitting. Although you simply stand at these desks and aren’t necessarily moving around, you expend more energy and are more prone to physical movement than if you were sitting.

Though no comprehensive research has been performed to date, early studies show that these types of desks don’t make much of an impact over the short term and the long-term benefits are unknown at this point. What researchers do know is that a sit/stand desk won’t do much to help in weight loss or combat obesity and that standing for long periods won’t lead to other issues, including musculoskeletal problems and varicose veins.

Researchers are still trying to figure out what the best in-office strategies are to combat the detrimental effects of being seated all day. There have been a number of discussions about solutions that range from installing pedaling devices below desks to installing printers at a more remote location to force employees to get up and walk to them throughout the day.

The bottom line is that if you like the flexibility offered by a sit/stand desk, go ahead and outfit your office with one. It won’t hurt, but it may not help your health either. Only time and a lot more in-depth studies will tell the whole story.

If you are stuck at a desk all day even if you are standing or sitting, make sure you are still active!