Standing desks: Did these researchers just kill them off? Sitting down doesn't increase your risk of dying, scientists find

 
Lynsey Barber
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Standing at work won't reduce the risk of dying (Source: Flickr/angusmci)

Scientists have been telling us for years that spending the day sitting down at work is bad for our health, even shaving years off our life.

Now, sit back and relax - they might have been proved wrong.

Another set of researchers who set out to challenge the claims, which have spawned an entire industry of the standing desks, have done some welcome debunking.

An epic 16-year study of more than 5,000 people by scientists at the University of Exeter and University College London found there is no connection between sitting down and an increased risk of dying.

Not only does that put the minds of office workers at ease, but it turns current thinking adopted by the NHS on its head.

Read more: This is the worst (and best) office view in the world

“Policymakers should be cautious in recommending a reduction in the time spent sitting without also promoting increased physical activity," said Dr Melvyn Hillsdon of the Exeter university.

“Our study overturns current thinking on the health risks of sitting and indicates that the problem lies in the absence of movement rather than the time spent sitting itself. Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing.

And that conclusion could spell the end of this kind of thing.

"The results cast doubt on the benefits of sit-stand work stations, which employers are increasingly providing to promote healthy working environments,” said Hillsdon.

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