Sitting and standing at work

Sedentary behaviour, including prolonged and static sitting and standing at work, is of growing concern to workplaces and workers because of its potential negative effects on health and comfort. IWH research explores the association between prolonged sitting and/or standing and chronic illnesses, musculoskeletal disorders and premature death, as well as prevention guidelines that will reduce these effects

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Overhead image of fast-moving pedestrians using a crosswalk to cross a road.
Research Highlights

Associations between physical activity patterns and cardiometabolic health in Canadian working adults

According to an IWH study, Canadian workers typically fall into six patterns of daily movement.
Published: June 22, 2023
Blurred figures of workers walking
At Work article

Workers doing vigorous, tiring activity all day no healthier than those who are least active

What daily physical activity pattern is best for your heart health? An IWH research team analyzed activity tracker data in a nationally representative sample of nearly 8,100 workers and examined their 10-year risk of heart disease.
Published: June 30, 2022
Overhead image of fast-moving pedestrians using a crosswalk to cross a road.
Research Highlights

Associations between physical activity patterns and cardiometabolic health in Canadian working adults

According to an IWH study, Canadian workers typically fall into six patterns of daily movement. These six patterns are associated with varying levels of cardiometabolic disease risk. In general, workers with higher daily activity levels had lower levels of cardiometabolic disease risk factors, but those with moderate activity also showed lower risk factors.
Published: June 2023
Blurred figures of workers walking
At Work article

Workers doing vigorous, tiring activity all day no healthier than those who are least active

What daily physical activity pattern is best for your heart health? An IWH research team analyzed activity tracker data in a nationally representative sample of nearly 8,100 workers and examined their 10-year risk of heart disease.
Published: June 2022
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

Is there an optimal daily movement pattern for heart health? A study of Canadian workers' activity tracker data

For optimal heart health, physical activity guidelines recommend that all adults exercise for at least 150-300 minutes a week at moderate intensity or for 75-150 minutes a week at vigorous intensity (or a combination of the two). Given the different ways that workers move at work and outside work, little is known as to whether certain patterns of daily movement are optimal for the heart health of Canadian workers. In this presentation, IWH Associate Scientist Dr. Avi Biswas shares findings from a recently completed study that identified the typical daily movement profiles of Canadian workers, using activity tracker data. He describes different groups of workers' typical movement patterns and their future heart disease risks. He also discusses whether any movement patterns present alternative strategies to the existing physical activity guidelines.
Published: June 2022
Two men lift heavy furniture off a truck
At Work article

Emerging evidence points to negative health effects of physical work demands

Recent studies are suggesting physically demanding work can have negative effects on workers’ cardiovascular health. At a recent IWH Speaker Series presentation, Associate Scientist Dr. Avi Biswas discussed how workplaces and policy-makers can help.
Published: July 2021
Vice logo
IWH in the media

How to take care of your body if you stand all day at work

“Work is pretty much the only environment where people tend to stand for prolonged periods of time.” So said IWH's Dr. Peter Smith in an article by Em Cassel on the negative health effects of working on one's feet all day long.
Published: Vice, July 2021
Journal article
Journal article

Stressful by design: exploring health risks of ride-share work

Published: Journal of Transport & Health, June 2019
NSC Safety + Health
IWH in the media

Sitting or standing too much at work? New video addresses ways to lower associated health risks

Sitting or standing for prolonged periods may adversely affect workers’ health, according to several recent studies. So, what should workers do? In a video titled Sitting or standing? Which is best?, two IWH researchers behind the studies answer that question to help clarify their recent research.
Published: Safety + Health, December 2018
Video
Video

Sitting or standing? Which is best?

If you’re confused by seemingly duelling headlines about the negative health effects of prolonged sitting and prolonged standing, this video may help clear things up. Two of the scientists behind these headlines work at the Institute for Work & Health, so we put them before the camera, side by side, to sort out the take-away message.
Published: November 2018
Journal article
Journal article

Is promoting six hours of standing an appropriate public health message?

Published: European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, March 2018