How long should you stand in one day?

Caitlin Chang

Experts recommend standing for at least two hours during the work day. Photo: Getty

By now we all know that prolonged sitting is one of the worst things we can do for our health.

But the advice on how long we should stand for has remained unclear, until now. UK health experts have devised a set of recommendations when it comes to long-term sitting and sedentary behaviour, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

After sifting through data, Public Health England and community advocacy group Active Working CIC have developed the first guidelines on how much time we should be standing each day.

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According to the research, people should aim for at least two hours of standing during the working day. How you stand is unimportant, it can be broken up into small periods or involve pacing or even walking back and forth to the printer all day – anything to offset sitting still.

Experts were quick to say that these recommendations are not a mandate but a good way to get people to consider how much time they spend sitting each day – that’s 75 per cent for office workers, according to this report.

“This is an initial guidance, which we do expect to evolve with time,” said lead study author John Buckley from the Institute of Medicine at the University of Chester. “As we get more evidence we will hopefully gain more precision.”

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Sedentary behaviour is a leading risk factor when it comes to type-2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease and current Australian physical and sedentary behaviour guidelines recommend prolonged sitting be broken up as much as possible.

This particular report suggests gradually working your way up from standing two hours per day to standing for roughly half your working lives. Even if you’re chained to your desk, walking to the bathroom, taking a tearoom break, or other small steps could make a big difference.


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