Standing desk evangelists, you may want to sit down for this. Those fancy adjustable sit/stand desks may not be as revolutionary as advertised. A new study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise finds that people who use them might compensate for their newly active work hours by sitting more at home.
The study, led by the UK’s Loughborough University, examined 40 office workers who used sit-stand workstations for three months. They wore movement trackers on their legs to measure how much they were exercising and standing throughout the day. Compared to their baseline activity levels before receiving the desks, the workers spent considerably more time standing during work hours (about an hour and a half more).
But on the flip side, they also spent significantly less time standing or moving around after work. The workers may have been tired from the increased activity during the day, and rested their sore feet at night. The extra sitting time didn’t cancel out the increased standing time—workers still sat about 45 minutes less per day than before the study—but it did cut into their gains.
Essentially, a standing desk is not a panacea to your inactivity. If already you sit all day and then go home and plop down on the couch (guilty), then a standing desk will probably help you move around a bit more. But it’s important to be mindful of how much you’re moving (or not moving) both at work and at home. You know, if you’re concerned about not sitting yourself to death.