Can standing up all day harm your health?
Published: 22 August 2018 - Victoria White
For years, office workers have been warned against the dangers of sitting down at a desk all day, with claims of increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol being but a few supposed health risks of a sedentary job. However, whilst being in a chair for hours on end might not be the best for your health, what about workers that have no choice but to stand for a living? Are there any harmful effects associated with this? If so, what can employers do about it?
A study at ETC Zurich in Switzerland has concluded that standing for longer than two hours is likely to have detrimental health effects. Standing for up to five hours such as the roles of retail assistants and assembly line workers can contribute to lower limb muscle fatigue, which can in turn increase employee’s risk of lower back pain, therefore significantly affecting their ability to work.
The study mentioned above was published in the Human Factors journal and consisted of 14 men and 12 women of different age groups, half between 18 and 30 years old and half between 50 and 65. The participants were told to stand for extended periods of time at a work bench at a manufacturing plant. The ‘workers’ were given five-minute breaks and one 30-minute lunch break. Leg muscle stress and posture were measured throughout and workers were asked to report any discomfort. Although the study was small, the results did have early indications that standing for prolonged periods of time does negatively affect the muscles and joints. Curtin University in Australia also conducted similar research and found that taking a more or less constant standing position can actually compress the spine and therefore lead to back issues.
Taking a Stand
Of course, standing in some areas of employment cannot be avoided, but there are actions that employers can take to ensure their employee’s foot and overall joint health is taken into consideration when at work. Mats4U have an innovative range of mats specifically designed to optimise foot care for standing workers. The collection consists that are primarily designed to alleviate stress to the back and legs by cushioning the areas where people have to constantly stand to work. Anti-fatigue mats work by allowing blood to flow more freely throughout the body which will in turn reduce the risk of circulatory problems.
Source: Industrial Compliance