Can Installing A Stand Desk Improve Ones Physical Activity Levels?

I was recently reading the article titled “Installation of a stationary high desk in the workplace: effect of a 6-week intervention on physical activity” that was published in BMC public health journal in 2015 and thought I would highlight some of the key take home messages. 

Key messages in the article

  • Sedentary behaviours (including sitting) have been associated with an increase mortality rate and increased incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • Standing desks and sit to stand desks are good examples of how equipment changes in the workplace can provide them with the opportunity to vary work postures and stand more. 
  • Some studies have shown a positive health effects such as improvement in employees mood and reduction in work related musculoskeletal discomfort when given the opportunity to stand and work.
  • Research showing that standing work can have a significant effect on overall levels of physical activity is limited and contrasted.
  • This study showed that standing work via the installation of high desks in the workplace increases the daily amount of physical activity of workers, especially on work days. 

My thoughts

Sit to stand and standing work is now where a lot of conversations are moving towards in the corporate setting as there is an ever increasing level of media coverage highlighting the benefits.  Companies with a focus on worker comfort and wellbeing are now looking to incorporate sit to stand desks or meeting room stand desks to allow workers the opportunity to vary their work postures throughout the work day.  From my perspective this is a great initiative and workers must be educated on the benefits around varying their work posture throughout the day.  From my knowledge, there is still no best practice guidelines around how long one should sit and stand for at work and I will generally start of by having workers be conservative and build up their standing time slowly and have them stand for short periods frequently throughout the work day.  It is also important to remember that whilst implementing work areas that allow standing, we must also focus on work task design and processes as well as educate workers on behaviours that have them moving more frequently throughout the day.  After all, static standing and static sitting could increase ones risk of developing a musculoskeletal complaint and regular movement is the key. 

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams at Principle Four Osteopathy.  At Principle Four Osteopath we provide a range of services, including osteopathy manual therapy consultations, functional movement screening, exercise prescription, strength and conditioning and rehabilitation.

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD and Docklands leading osteopathy clinics.  Both clinics are equipped with training equipment so that we are able to get you actively involved and moving towards a better moving you.

Principle Four Osteopathy CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place, Melbourne 3000.

Principle Four Osteopathy Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St, Docklands, 3008.

Book an appointment online at or call 03 9670 9290.