Recent studies have shown that alternating between standing and sitting each half hour throughout the day can equal that of 45 minutes exercise, and help to prevent back pain.
In research conducted at Mont Albert Primary School in Melbourne, students using height adjustable desks are able to both sit and stand throughout the day; reducing the overall time they spend being inactive within the classroom.
During the 8-month trial, researchers will measure how much time students spend standing compared to sitting, and whether or not their concentration has improved as a result. The study already appears to be working, where one student has said of the change; ” I thought I’d get tired standing, you actually don´t, you get more work done”.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than 2 million Australians experience back problems every year, with many allied health professionals blaming the way we sit as one of the biggest causes of back pain.
Research also shows that sitting too long in the same position can increase stress on the discs between the vertebrae, cause the natural curve in the back to deteriorate, reduce the function and stability of the spine and lead to inflammation, pain and early degeneration of the spine.
In a similar study backed by the Heart Foundation, research simulated a work space at the Baker’s laboratory and examined 20 office staff working with regular periods standing up. As a result, workers burnt 13 per cent more energy than when seated all day.
With Australians now sitting for an average of 80 percent of their working days, Professor David Dunstan of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute said height-adjustable desks could make a significant impact.
“If you can replace four hours of the work day sitting with standing, across a five-day working week, the net gain could be equivalent to a 45-minute brisk walk,” said Dunstan.