The study, published last month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, saw researchers from Loughborough University in England and Victoria University in Australia recruit 40 healthy but sedentary university office workers and have them wear two types of activity monitors for two weeks.
One of the monitors tracked whether the wearer was sitting or standing, the other monitored steps and physical activity.
The researchers provided all of their volunteers with standing desks and asked the volunteers to wear the monitors at three different stages – after one week, after six weeks and after three months.
They found that before receiving the new desks, most of the workers had spent about 10 hours each day in a chair – either at the office or at home and less than five hours standing up.
After a week the workers were standing for almost 6.5 hours each day — between work and home — and sitting for less than 8.5 hours. After three months their daily standing time had fallen to about 5.5 hours and their sitting time had climbed back to a little over nine hours.
But they found the more the workers stood at work, the more they sat at home – almost cancelling out any benefits from the increased standing at work.
“It appears that participants were compensating for sitting less at work by sitting more and moving less after work,” said Stacy Clemes, a professor of exercise science at Loughborough University.
The net result – if you are standing more in one aspect of your life, make sure you aren’t overcompensating in another.
“Stand up and walk around during TV commercials,” Clemes said.