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J Occup Environ Med. 2018 Sep;60(9):804-809. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001329.

Acute Effects of Interrupting Sitting on Discomfort and Alertness of Office Workers.

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Department of Health and Human Physiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa (Mr Benzo, Dr Carr); and Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa (Drs Kruse, Hughes, Casey).



The aim of this study was to compare the effect of 4 hours of sitting interrupted with hourly bouts of standing and/or pedaling versus uninterrupted sitting on alertness and discomfort among sedentary office workers.


Fifteen middle-aged sedentary workers were randomized to three 4-hour conditions: (1) uninterrupted sitting; (2) sitting interrupted with 10 minutes of standing/hour; and (3) sitting interrupted with 10 minutes of pedaling/hour. Self-reported measures of alertness and discomfort were collected.


Uninterrupted sitting significantly increased discomfort (P < 0.001). Discomfort was lower in both the standing (P < 0.001) and pedaling (P < 0.001) conditions than the uninterrupted sitting condition. Short-lived improvements in alertness were observed immediately following several standing (50%) and pedaling (100%) interruptions.


Prolonged sitting increases discomfort while brief standing and pedaling interruptions attenuate impairments in discomfort among sedentary workers.

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