Experts Say Your Standing Desk Is Basically Useless

It made sense at the time. If sitting for hours a day is linked to obesity, heart disease and early death, then surely standing or walking while working could help office-goers protect themselves from these health maladies.

But a new analysis found that it’s still unclear whether standing or treadmill desks have any positive effect at all on health. What’s more, it’s not even clear whether having these new kinds of desks significantly reduces the amount of time a person sits during the work day.

The analysis of 20 previous studies — together including a total of 2,174 participants — was conducted by Cochrane, a prestigious global network of independent scientists who evaluate the quality of research and parse scientific evidence into digestible recommendations. They found there are too few studies and studies with too few participants, making a solid recommendation for standing or walking desks impossible.

What’s more, they concluded, most of the studies were too poorly designed to provide conclusive evidence even if their numbers had been sufficient.

“With the available evidence, I would say people should not expect to reduce weight using [a] sit-stand desk, as there is hardly any extra energy expenditure,” Nipun Shrestha, a scientist with the Health Research and Social Development Forum in Nepal and corresponding author for the Cochrane review told HuffPost. “People need to do exercises both at work and outside work in addition to standing.”

Here’s what the research really says about four efforts to cut down on sitting time:

1. Your standing desk doesn’t do enough.

Studies say: Having a sit-stand desk decreased workplace sitting an average of 30 minutes to two hours every day. It also reduced total sitting time and the length of “sitting episodes” that last 30 minutes or longer, both —> Read More