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Occup Environ Med. 2014 Nov;71(11):765-71. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102348. Epub 2014 Aug 28.

Breaking up workplace sitting time with intermittent standing bouts improves fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort in overweight/obese office workers.

Author information

1
Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.
2
Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Department of Physiology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia Department of Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.
3
Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia Department of Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia The University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Cancer Prevention Research Centre, Queensland, Australia School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
4
Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia The University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Cancer Prevention Research Centre, Queensland, Australia Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Victoria, Australia School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine whether the introduction of intermittent standing bouts during the workday using a height-adjustable workstation can improve subjective levels of fatigue, musculoskeletal discomfort and work productivity relative to seated work.

METHODS:

Overweight/obese office workers (n=23; age 48.2±7.9 years, body mass index 29.6±4 kg/m(2)) undertook two, 5-day experimental conditions in an equal, randomised (1:1) order. In a simulated office environment, participants performed their usual occupational tasks for 8 h/day in a: seated work posture (SIT condition); or interchanging between a standing and seated work posture every 30 min using an electric, height-adjustable workstation (STAND-SIT condition). Self-administered questionnaires measuring fatigue, musculoskeletal discomfort and work productivity were performed on day 5 of each experimental condition.

RESULTS:

Participants' total fatigue score was significantly higher during the SIT condition (mean 67.8 (95% CI 58.8 to 76.7)) compared with the STAND-SIT condition (52.7 (43.8 to 61.5); p<0.001). Lower back musculoskeletal discomfort was significantly reduced during the STAND-SIT condition compared with the SIT condition (31.8% reduction; p=0.03). Despite concentration/focus being significantly higher during the SIT condition (p=0.006), there was a trend towards improved overall work productivity in favour of the STAND-SIT condition (p=0.053).

CONCLUSIONS:

Transitioning from a seated to a standing work posture every 30 min across the workday, relative to seated work, led to a significant reduction in fatigue levels and lower back discomfort in overweight/obese office workers, while maintaining work productivity. Future investigations should be directed at understanding whether sustained use of height-adjustable workstations promote concentration and productivity at work.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:

ACTRN12611000632998.

KEYWORDS:

sedentary behaviour

PMID:
25168375
DOI:
10.1136/oemed-2014-102348
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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