Study: Prolonged Standing At Work Can Lead To Long-Term Health Problems

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – We’ve heard the health dangers of sitting too much at work, but working on your feet all day could also be trouble.

A new study finds standing five hours a day contributes to long-term back pain and musculoskeletal disorders.

Two hours of standing on the job is not associated with problems, but “a longer period is likely to have detrimental effects,” said study lead author Maria-Gabriela Garcia.

While the risks of short-term problems from standing for long periods, like leg cramps and backaches, have been known, this study wanted to find out if prolonged standing also contributed to longer-term health issues.

The researchers examined 14 men and 12 women. Half were between 18 and 30 years old, and half between 50 and 65. None of the participants had any history of any neurological or musculoskeletal disorder, and all were asked to refrain from strenuous activity the day before study participation.

They were then asked to perform light tasks while standing at a workbench for five hours, with five-minute rest breaks and one half-hour lunch break.

The participants were equally likely to experience significant fatigue at the end of the work day, no matter their age or gender. The researchers also noted clear signs of muscle fatigue, even a half hour after the standing period ended.

The study authors pointed out that almost half of all workers worldwide spend more than three-quarters of their workday standing.

Regular stretching and “perhaps the incorporation of specific breaks, work rotation or the use of more dynamic activities could alleviate the effects of long-term fatigue,” Garcia suggested.

The study was published in the journal Human Factors.

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