There has been a lot in the news about sitting at work, with the suggestion that if you sit for long periods of time you can end up with getting diabetes or heart disease and maybe we should all be standing at work. There have been several programmes and reports suggesting that we should not sit at all at work but should stand for long periods of time.
This is probably erroneous and probably not looking at the research properly. Professor Whiteley is fairly certain that it’s the standing up and the sitting down, which is exercise that helps us lose weight and reduces the chances of diabetes and heart disease. His worry is that if we decide to follow what seems to be trendy at the moment by having these elevated desks and standing for long periods of time, we will end up with problems such as increased incidents of varicose veins and maybe even arthritis of the knees in the long term.
What we know is that people who stand for long periods of time at work already, such as surgeons or hairdressers, who get varicose veins, then their varicose veins deteriorate much faster and their venous disease is much worse. So, if we suddenly persuade the whole population to stand at work for eight hours at a time just imagine how bad that is going to be for veins in the future.
“I believe that instead of just buying into this lock, stock and barrel, we should look at the research much more carefully and see what it actually says and probably do some more research. Rather than standing for long periods of time, which might cause other problems, if we want the advantages of not sitting for long periods of time, it’ll probably be that we sit but every half hour or so we just stand up and move around or even do some exercises at the desk. So I think we have to be very careful before we start advocating that people stand for long periods of time, particularly when we know how bad that is for varicose veins” says Professor Whiteley.