Office workers to test health benefits of standing at their desks

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Office workers in Yorkshire are being invited to stand at their desks to see whether it benefits their health in an experiment designed to test “working on your feet”.

Two groups of workers at Virgin Media’s Sheffield contact centre will ditch their chairs for minimum of two hours a day after volunteering to use adjustable height sit-stand desks.

The trial is being launched amid warnings that the increasingly sedentary lifestyles of the UK’s legions of office workers sitting for long periods of time at their desks is being linked to increased risks of serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses.

Previous short-term studies calculated that around 30,000 extra calories could be burned a year - equating to 3.6kg (8lbs) - simply by standing for two to three hours a day at work.

The experiment will see the first group use the special desks for six months, and the second group for the following six months.

The research launched today is being led by John Buckley, professor of applied exercise science at the University of Chester.

He said: “The simple act of standing for even as little as two hours per day can increase muscle activity to have a significant impact on health and wellbeing.

“This unprecedented study with Virgin Media will allow us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the benefits working on your feet can have on health and performance.”