Postural changes in a working environment: a possible mechanism to alleviate sedentary behavior

Meizi Wang, Yaodong Gu, Huw Wiltshire, Julien Baker

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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of standing and sitting-standing positional changes on energy cost as a method for interrupting sedentary sitting time while working.

Background: Sedentary lifestyles have recently been identified as a potential mechanism for obesity and associated metabolic diseases linked to ill health.

Method: 26 healthy male volunteers performed normal typing and editing work for 100 minutes under three conditions. The conditions included; sustained sitting, sustained standing and sitting-standing alternation every 20min using a sit-stand desk. Respiratory parameters measured included minute ventilation (VE), oxygen consumption (VO2) and energy expenditure (EE). Measurements were recorded using a calibrated K4b2 portable gas analysis system. Analysis of variance was used to identify any differences between the three conditions.

Results: The mean value for VE in the standing position was the highest, followed by sitting-standing alternation. Both were significantly different from sitting. The maximum VE and EE for standing and sitting-standing alternation were significantly higher than that of sitting. No significant differences were observed in the mean VO2 among the three conditions. However, the maximum VO2 for both standing and sitting-standing alternation was significantly higher than sitting. There were no significant differences observed in the mean EE levels between sitting and sitting-standing alternation. However, the mean EE while standing increased significantly compared with sitting.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence how sitting-standing alternations affect energy cost compared with sustained sitting. The findings of this study indicate that sitting-standing alternations may be implemented as an effective intervention to interrupt prolonged sitting while working. The findings also suggest that the changes in respiratory parameters observed, may provide an effective method to help prevent the onset of obesity and sedentary behavior.

Application: The office workers using a sit-stand desk performing minimal intensity sitting-standing alternations (longer duration of standing than sitting in one cycle) to reduce adverse effects of sedentary behavior.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiology International
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Apr 2018


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