The Dangers of Excessive Standing

April 28, 2021

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Numerous articles have warned about the health risks of sitting all day, ranging from short-term neck and upper back pain to long-term cardiovascular issues. The public's awareness of these dangers has resulted in explosive growth for the standing desk industry. Indeed, some workspaces are now built with counter-height work surfaces intended for standing use. Going to the opposite maximum of standing for most of the workday can be just as bad as sitting. A versatile, customizable, height-adjustable desk is the obvious solution for improving workplace health. 

The term "standing desk" has become highly successful in recent decades, as it has become a popular health and wellness perk in the workplace. Unfortunately, taking the name too literally and standing for an extended time without breaks harms health. According to a study by National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, standing for long periods at work linked to various potentially serious health outcomes, including lower back and leg pain, cardiovascular problems, fatigue, and discomfort. According to the study, there appears to be ample proof that extended standing at work contributes to adverse health outcomes. The research also backs up the conclusion that some measures effectively lower the risks associated with prolonged standing.

The following are the health risks of standing for an extended period:


LOW BACK PROBLEMS

Too much standing can compress the spine, causing direct pain and a negative impact on overall posture—prolonged standing linked to various low back pain measures. Low back fatigue and discomfort are by far the most measured outcomes. In a study of bank tellers, some reported low back discomfort with prolonged standing. In contrast, others said that those who stood for long periods of the day reported significantly more body parts discomfort than those who sat most of the time.


CARDIOVASCULAR PROBLEMS

Extended periods of standing increase the risk of varicose veins and other serious cardiovascular problems such as deep vein thrombosis and heart disease. The reason is that the heart has to work harder to keep blood flowing throughout the body.

A cross-sectional study examining the relationship between prolonged standing and the risk of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) discovered that 18% had minor CVI symptoms and 11% had major CVI symptoms. A second study focusing on the same workers found that standing for an extended period increased leg volume.

Prolonged standing contributes significantly and potentially dangerously to vascular problems in workers who must stand for long periods during the workday. It is unclear whether these exposures cause long-term chronic leg problems, but we should avoid acute health effects.


DISCOMFORT/FATIGUE

Some studies have found that prolonged standing tasks can exacerbate workers' physical fatigue and discomfort in various body regions prolonged standing tasks can exacerbate workers' physical fatigue and pain in various body regions. The fatigue rate and reports of discomfort were higher in the stationary static standing posture than in the dynamic standing posture.

Even for short periods, prolonged standing without dynamic movement causes physical fatigue, discomfort, and pain in several body regions. It is also clear that age influences how people react to prolonged standing.


PAIN AND SWELLING OF FEET

Prolonged standing can cause blood pooling in the feet and ankles, resulting in swelling and pain. Pain can spread up from the feet into the legs and other areas of the body. 


WHAT CAN YOU DO?


BALANCE

Change is essential when it comes to body position for desk work. Spending too much time in one position or posture puts strain on specific sections of the body, so the best way to fight that tension is to switch positions frequently and take breaks for movement. A proper height-adjustable desk allows you to change positions as needed and find the ideal height for each individual. 

Shifting between sitting and standing every 30 minutes is the recommended desk adjustment interval. If users are beginning to stand, they can ease the transition by increasing their sitting time at first – perhaps 45 minutes to an hour – and then decreasing to achieve an even sitting to standing time ratio eventually. Regardless of the ratio, anyone required to work at a desk should take frequent breaks to stretch, look away from the computer screen, and move – whether it's a quick lap around the office or some leg lifts in place.

Another way for users to improve standing comfort is to regularly transfer primary pressure from one foot to another.


ACCESSORIES

A new sit-stand desk consumer will benefit from the right accessories to help them adapt to new working positions. 

  • Compression socks: Compression socks add gentle pressure to your legs and ankles, allowing blood to flow more freely from your legs to your heart. They can also help with swelling and pain in the ankles and legs. The pressure applied may reduce the diameter of veins by enhancing the volume and speed of blood flow. It may also help blood flow up toward the heart and help restrict blood from refluxing downward to the foot or into superficial veins.

  • Anti-fatigue mat: This cushioned mat relieves foot pain that standing desk users can encounter by absorbing and promoting circulation while also absorbing pressure from the floor. FlexiSpot has two kinds of anti-fatigue mats that you can choose from. The Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat MT1 is designed for comfort, guaranteeing that no matter if you work using a standing desk or in the kitchen, you’ll feel great and stay productive. On the other hand, the Ergonomic Anti Fatigue Mat DM1 has multiple massage points that stimulate a constant foot massage while standing on it. Standing on it will help you wake up your tired feet, increase your blood circulation, and soothe your body and mind.


MOVEMENT

  • Treadmill: To allow for walking when working, you can mount a treadmill in front of a standing desk.

  • Wobble stool: A wobble stool is similar to an exercise ball in that it tilts in both directions without falling over and swivels 360 degrees, providing equal opportunities to engage core and leg muscles when used regularly.

  • Exercise ball: Or used as a desk chair, an exercise ball increases core strength by requiring more muscle activity. Experts suggest alternating between the ball and the chair to prevent putting too much pressure on the spine. 

  • Desk bike: A desk bike replaces a chair, functioning like an exercise bike but built specifically for use at a desk, allowing users to work and exercise simultaneously. Under Desk Bike V9U -- Best Standing Desk Mate from FlexiSpot has whisper-quiet pedaling with eight resistance levels that would enable you to get healthy movement in, no matter your fitness level.

  • Desk pedals: Desk pedals include the same form of workout as a desk cycle, but without the bike – the tiny, self-contained pedals can be mounted under the desk and used with any office chair.



Standing-only desks lack the flexibility to ensure proper posture for people of varying heights and needs. We can achieve optimal ergonomic health with the customization provided by a height-adjustable desk – and make it simple to strike the right balance between sitting and standing.

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