Standing at work hikes risk of heart disease

By Bill Levesque • Published: November 29th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Will you be healthier if you stand all day at work rather than sit? After all, look at all those folks with standing desks. Standing has got to be good for the body, right?

Canadian researchers, however, have thrown a monkey wrench into that notion, at least when it comes to your heart. They found that workers who mostly stand at work are twice as likely to develop heart disease than those who sit all day.

Researchers in a recent study tracked more than 7,300 workers in Ontario for 12 years. All worked at least 15 hours each week. At the start of the study in 2003, participants had healthy hearts. By 2015, 3.4 percent of all workers developed heart disease, the study found. But 6.6 percent of those workers who mostly stood during work developed heart disease, compared with just 2.8 percent for sitting employees.

That standing group included nurses, bank tellers, cashiers and chefs.

Numerous studies have shown that being sedentary and sitting much of the day is unhealthy. So, what gives?

Researchers pointed out that blood pools in the legs of those standers. And it increases the pressure on your veins to return blood to the heart from your legs. The standing might also interfere with the ability of the body’s antioxidants to stop or prevent cell damage.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, doesn’t argue that you should sit all day. Researchers said they are just pointing out that prolonged standing may need additional scrutiny.

So, what’s the solution for people who are always up on their feet?

Researchers have an uncomplicated prescription: Take a seat once in a while.