So sit-stand desks are a bad solution because people don't actually use them? What's wrong with this logic?
Of course when they are a novelty, people will try them out and then fall back into old habits.
Here in Denmark practically every office worker in every workplace has a sit-stand desk, and so I have many years of experience observing this. About ten percent (my rough estimate) actually use them, but those that do use them a lot, and stand between 25-50% of the time.
I would not work anywhere without one, simple as that. I even got one for my home office (they are available from many dealers here).
It's not bad logic if you consider more contexts than just you deciding whether or not to use a sit-stand desk on your own. If most people don't actually use the standing feature of these desks, then this would make the desks a bad solution for an organization trying to find ways to boost the health and morale of its employees. Why spend the money if nobody will use it?
However, for a motivated individual who is willing to use them (like me), it is irrelevant if "most" people don't bother to use the stand feature of their sit-stand workstations.
I'd estimate around 25% of the other workers actually use them for standing.
I'm using a large EFG desk. They are available here: http://goo.gl/6YmHR
See page 29 especially, and the graphs starting on page 19.
Basically, I don't think this would change my advice to a patient one way or another, and my default advise is "stand more, walk more, please do something besides sit on your butt all day."
For patients with symptomatic atherosclerosis, their beds are made already.
> This report describes results for a study of electric height-adjustable
worksurfaces (EHAWs) conducted in two companies. A total of 33 computer
workers from the two companies worked at fixed-height worksurfaces (FHWs) and
then at EHAWs for between 4 and 6 weeks. Participants completed extensive
survey questionnaires immediately before and then 4-6 weeks after using the
EHAWs. Results showed significant decreases in the severity of musculoskeletal
discomfort for most upper body regions. In the EHAW condition daily discomfort
ratings were lower in the afternoon and productivity ratings improved. Written
comments about the EHAWs generally were positive. There was a strong
preference for using the EHAWs. Implications are discussed.
*significant decreases in the severity of musculoskeletal discomfort
*daily discomfort ratings were lower
*productivity ratings improved
*strong preference for using the EHAWs
Thanks for reading the original source. I had a bad "feeling" about the article, I know it's on a Cornell website, but it doesn't come across as an actual study of any sort.
Time spent sitting and physical activity were queried by questionnaire on 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were disease free at enrollment. The authors identified 11,307 deaths in men and 7,923 deaths in women during the 14-year follow-up. After adjustment for smoking, body mass index, and other factors, time spent sitting (≥6 vs. <3 hours/day) was associated with mortality in both women (relative risk = 1.34, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25, 1.44) and men (relative risk = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.24).
 below: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2995821
But, standing to work has long known to be problematic, it is more tiring, it dramatically increases the risks of carotid atherosclerosis (ninefold) because of the additional load on the circulatory system, and it also increases the risks of varicose veins, so standing all day is unhealthy.
Where do they get that?? Citations, please! It took me a bit to find all the background research and read up on it. Interesting stuff.
That being said, still prefer the standing desk. My standing desk at home is right by my bed, so it's really easy to fall back and change my position when needed, and I'm worried about carotid atherosclerosis or varicose veins. :)
See also what the book 59 has to say about lying down and creativity. :)
Some background info I found for anyone more interested in this.
Do I read this correctly in saying that for men without IHD, the ones who stood all day had their artery walls thicken by 0.33mm over four years while those who stood not at all had theirs thicken by 0.24mm? And that the nine-fold increase is only for people with ischaemic heart disease? So the article is wrong: it's not 900% but 37% in people who don't have IHD?
The idea is that thicker artery walls are associated with heart disease, right? Is there reason to believe the relationship is linear? Otherwise we can't say that because we saw a nine-fold difference in delta IMT that we expect a ninefold increase in risk.
Right, except, if you've every scrubbed in for a carotid endarterectomy, the culprit is a lesion full of cholesterol and inflammation, not a diffuse thickening.
> Is there reason to believe the relationship is linear?
Well, yes and no. Things that cause atherosclerosis tend to have linear relationships with the disease. So if you find a new relationship, you expect it to be linear. Problem is, their analysis has to pile on a lot of other stuff before you find a relationship. And "Have the disease" is a pretty big step function compared to the other things they control for. Notice also that N goes way down in those severe subgroup analyses (tables 2 and 3)
To a large degree, sedentary is sedentary, no matter how you dress it up. Our bodies did not evolve to sit (or stand) in a fixed location for most of the waking day. And our brain's health is highly correlated with cardiovascular health.
-The Atkins diet has some serious flaws (in short: not enough vegetables, not enough warning against harmful fats/oils/processing) but deserves real credit for the ongoing movement away from processed carbohydrates. He exposed the fallacy of associating dietary fat with body fat. He probably had more right than the 80's and 90's health establishment (that food pyramid was an abomination).
-The modern white-collar workplace is an absolutely bizarre environment for a species that's been without anything resembling a "building" for something like %99 of its history, let alone artificial light, computing metaphors or office chairs - experimentation with ergonomics and the whole enterprise of spending our waking hours indoors should be encouraged, not treated dismissively.
Stress management and reduction also comes to mind (of course taking a small break and moving around can help that).
I'm sorry I don't have a citation (nor am I going to dig for one) but this has been mentioned ad nauseam in prior threads. You should check those out (as well as the studies they discuss).
I alternate between a cheap office chair and a cheap kneeling chair (something like this - http://www.amazon.com/Boss-Office-Products-Ergonomic-Kneelin...), switching if I feel any twinge of discomfort, and my back and neck feel great.
"This study suggests that ergonomically designed kneeling chairs set at +20 degrees inclination do maintain standing lumbar curvature to a greater extent than sitting on a standard computer chair with an overall mean difference of 7.633 degrees . Further research with a greater number of subjects and on different chair designs is warranted."
If you find evidence so important, I suggest you show me yours, as I find it to be strangely lacking. Ah, the irony.
Not only did their plan fail, I found that I could sit for hours in that chair where in other "office" chairs I was highly uncomfortable after 30 min.
Also studies and other's anecdotes are worth a pittance compared to rigorous experimentation on your own part as everyone's body reacts differently. I can't count the number of times my experience has run counter to "accepted wisdom".
Of course, if you're switching between two different styles of chair when you need to, that may well alleviate any problems.
Moving around is really, really the best thing to do in a Pomodoro break. Every time I check Facebook or mail instead I regret it.
The downside is, I never figured out how to apply Pomodoro to research work or other stuff that has no discernible tasks - just feels weird then :(
The only evidence I know for these is anecdotal, but I'll take a substantial body of anecdotal evidence over "sounds a bit too much to me" any day.
I don't understand this. In a proper sit-and-stand configuration the torso, arms and head ought to be in almost exactly the same position relative to the monitor, keyboard and table whether the user is sitting or standing, no?
Happy standing desk user (well, customizable IKEA bookshelf, LOL).
(Later, of course, "progress" occurred and the furniture was replaced with plastic chairs and tables.)
I've always wondered if these are comfortable or not.
My old ones were somewhat like this: http://www.officechairsforless.com/Square-Bar-Stool-ES25VS3....
Except sturdier, unpadded, and slightly tilted forward. They were also slightly pyramidal, resulting in a somewhat narrow seat but making the stool very stable.
P.S. Just found these: http://www.worthingtondirect.com/tables/solid_oak_stool_by_g... . The 30" one is probably closest functionally - I think one just has to slide off the seat to be standing up.
But after 4 hours or so I find I get a sore back. I've been "mixin it up"... standing for an hour, sitting for a couple of hours. Or sitting in the morning, standing after lunch... so far it feels pretty good, but I'm keeping some (quite subjective) stats to check out how it goes in the longer term.
I don't have the option of swapping it around; my "standing desk" is a regular desk with cardboard boxes and telephone books stacked on top ( http://instagr.am/p/MUmlP/ ). At this point I can't get a new regular chair, let alone a high stool, unfortunately.
I'm giving it a week; after then I'll decide whether to switch back or not.
I've tried this for about a week now, and it's become better already, but not all side effects are gone.
It's actually been harder to concentrate for this while due to sore legs...
I think I will stick to it but need another week or so to decide.
Sounds like an unintentional endorsement for the Pomodoro technique. Just get up on your break.
Or maybe I just have the bladder of an 8 year old boy?
When I work from home, I love being able to take lie flat on the floor for a bit and rest my back AND legs for a short period.
While this contradict my personal experience, I do trust the studies.
every 20 minutes stand for 2 minutes AND MOVE
I also believe this will no more work than sit-stand workstations. Every 20 minutes, walk to the water fountain or somewhere else for 2 minutes, will turn any large office into a non-stop walkathon. And just like people end up sitting all day with sit-stand desks, people will end up sitting all day with this setup.
I suppose employers could hardwire a loud buzzer to go off every 20 minutes, but I just don't see that happening on any large scale.
Personally I already stand for most of the day, two years after I switched to a sit-stand desk. But I could change from sitting to standing and back every 20 minutes without losing flow. I am not sure I could do it if I had to walk away form the keyboard, even just for 2 minutes. After the third or forth break, I'm guessing I would be out of the zone.
I'm guessing the reason that sit-stand workstation "users only stand for very short-periods (15 minutes or less total per day)" is because of people who aren't motivated to stand in the first place (i.e. their employer bought them the desk).
While standing might help work additional core muscles, it is not working large leg muscles that are crucial to circulation at the same time that it's increasing stress to the circulatory system.
(For those that don't know, muscle movement is important to the return of blood to the heart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venous_return_curve) in addition to lymphatic circulation (your _other_ circulatory system - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lymph#Lymphatic_circulation) )
I could see persistent standing w/o movement stressing arteries because of greater hydrostatic pressure in your legs and increased load on the left ventricle of the heart.
Most of really good ideas have been discovered long long ago. ^_^
So, are they saying sit-stand is ineffective, or are they saying that in practice people just sit?
But I probably would have walked in front of a bus so it is just as well I never had one.
I often find myself using transcription while driving to send long emails for example... I'll dictate stream of consciousness while driving, including the um and ahhs, then when I get in, the email will just need editing to send.
I love my Aeron and so does my arse.
But as the back pain kept getting worse, I finally decided to give the standing desk thing a try about 3 weeks ago. I expected my back to start feeling better, and it did -- great! But the unexpected benefit has been vastly increased focus: I somehow feel much more motivated standing than sitting. There's something that feels incredibly silly about watching YouTube or reading Hacker News while standing, and so I just don't do it. I've been more productive these last 3 weeks than I've been in a long, long time.
Perhaps it's just the novelty of a new situation; who knows. But I'm going to stick with it, for now.
What sort of strength training are you doing?
Squats, deads, lunges, back hypers, good mornings, and GHRs will do a lot more for your lower back strength than any amount of fiddling with your chair.
Not all at once, of course, but start light and work up.
Muscle is gained when it's subjected to progressive overload. It's lost when no demands are made on it. For most people, sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) starts becoming pronounced in the 30s. Strength training turns this around.
You'll also find that proper lift posture does a lot for back health -- musculature and spine.
Getting up and walking around through the day helps, of course. But it's not the total solution either.
I suspect you'll get over it.
I had the same trouble ironically. Blamed my desk and chair for ages. Then I sold my car and it went away. The thing I didn't realise was that the car whilst having the perception of being infinitely more comfortable turned out to cause all sorts of muscle strains.
Standing in not accepted risk factor for carotid atherosclerosis. There is no shortage of research about the dangers of sitting including obesity which is a risk factor of symptomatic carotid atherosclerosis. Varicose veins wile not very attractive are not considered a serious health problem and are treatable I would invite the author to quantify the desks with peer reviewed research. The only link was to a 32 person self survey. Not exactly the most reliable form of research.