(Reuters Health) – "Sit-stand" worktops reduce daily working hours and can improve work performance and engagement in work, says a British study.
Researchers, who studied 146 National Health Service staff, found that after an annual use of the stalls combined with a coaching program, working hours decreased by more than an hour a day. In addition, desktop desk users have seen improvements in work performance, engagement and recovery from work-related fatigue.
"Simple replacement of some sitting time each day with a position can be beneficial in many different health ways and can save costs for employers," says Charlotte Edwardson, lead author of the study, in an e-mail for Reuters Health.
Sitting all day at the "desk" has been associated with health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and earlier death, authors wrote in the BMJ.
For the study, 77 people were randomly assigned to participate in the so-called SMArT Work Workout, where workers receive a height-adjustable workstation along with instructions for use, a goal setting brochure, a self-monitoring and quick tool, and coaching. The remaining 69 volunteers continued to work on traditional non-adaptable workstations.
The seating time was measured using a device worn on the thigh at the start of the study and again after three months, six months and twelve months. Participants also replied to questionnaires on job performance, workload, mood and quality of life.
At the beginning of the study, participants in both groups sat on average for almost 10 hours a day. Compared to those who left their usual workplace, they were sitting less than thirty minutes less for a period of three months, 59 minutes less for a day after six months, and 82 minutes less for the day after the year.
The intervention group also demonstrated improved work performance, workload, work fatigue, daily anxiety and quality of life. They also had fewer musculoskeletal complaints.
However, no differences were observed in sick days.
The pattern of improvement over time suggests that this approach can cause a sustained reduction in the number of seven years after 12 months that is necessary for the benefit of public health, wrote Cindy Gray of the University of Glasgow in an accompanying editorial.
Gray, however, noted that after 12 months participants still sat on average for more than 6 to 8 hours a day, which is still an unhealthy level.
Restriction of the study, the authors acknowledge is that it was done in one organization.
The level of physical activity of the table booth users has not changed. While sitting less, they simply cost more, which brings less health benefits compared to the breakage of sitting with a period of light physical activity.
However, the authors write that this type of intervention, which combines environmental change with other strategies such as education, self-observation and short coaching, deserves further research.
"We do not say you do not sit, we all have to sit down," Edwardson told Reuters Health. "But we have a balance between the time we spent and the time spent on our feet."
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2AQzPFE and http://bit.ly/2APtk5P BMJ, online October 10, 2018.