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Risks of standing desks

Standing desks 'increase pain' and slow down mental ability, study suggests

Standing desks increase bodily pain and slow down people’s cognitive functions at work, new research suggests.

Experts have warned that despite the “feverish” trend towards adopting the adjustable desks, there is little solid evidence to support their use, as well as concerns they may do more harm than good.

The devices are becoming increasingly commonplace as awareness improves regarding the dangers of sedentary living - most office workers spend more than 80 per cent of the time sitting - and they are also popular with people suffering from back pain.
But the new study, published in the journal Ergonomics, has linked prolonged use of standing desks with lower limb discomfort and deteriorating mental reactiveness.

Researchers at Curtin University in Australia observed 20 participants working at standing desks for two hours.

They found discomfort “significantly” increased for the lower back and lower limb regions, which correlates with previous research suggesting standing desk is responsible for swelling of the veins, which can endanger the heart.

Mental reactiveness also slowed down after roughly an hour and a quarter, however “creative” decision making was shown to marginally improve.
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