Office workers may be able to improve their overall health by getting up from their desks and standing, it has been claimed.
Writing for the Herald-Tribune, J. Bryan Lowder suggested that to some extent, standing up can counteract the negative impacts of a chair-bound working life.
He said there is a “growing body of evidence” that a sedentary job visits a host of perils upon the body.
“One notable effect is a decrease in the production and circulation of lipoprotein lipase, a molecule that helps determine how fats are processed,” Mr Lowder noted.
“Active muscle tissues are partly responsible for producing lipoprotein lipase as well as for the general burning of calories; a variety of muscle groups that are engaged when you’re standing become inactive once you sit down.”
He claimed that office workers can partly counteract this effect by standing up and moving around every 20 minutes or so.
“Some workers have taken these findings to mean that traditional chairs should be abandoned in favour of standing desks,” Mr Lowder commented.
However, he explained that standing up for long periods of time carries its own potential health problems.
For instance, employees may suffer from wear and tear on their ankles and knees, Mr Lowder claimed.
Employers have a responsibility to encourage workers to look after their health in the workplace – staff members must not be asked to work in such a way that causes them harm or severe discomfort.
Business leaders are also incentivised to do so in the sense that healthy, fit workers are likely to be more productive and contribute most to the bottom line.