Effect of Using a Sit-Stand Desk on Ratings of Discomfort, Fatigue, and Sleepiness Across a Simulated Workday in Overweight and Obese Adults

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Limited research examines the influence of sit-stand desks on ratings of discomfort, sleepiness, and fatigue. This study evaluated the time course of these outcomes over 1 day. Methods: Adults (N = 25) completed a randomized cross-over study in a laboratory with two 8-hour workday conditions: (1) prolonged sitting (SIT) and (2) alternating sitting and standing every 30 minutes (SIT-STAND). Sleepiness was assessed hourly. Discomfort, physical fatigue, and mental fatigue were measured every other hour. Linear mixed models evaluated whether these measures differed across conditions and the workday. Effect sizes were calculated using Cohen’s d. Results: Participants were primarily white (84%) males (64%), with mean (SD) body mass index of 31.9 (5.0) kg/m2 and age 42 (12) years. SIT-STAND resulted in decreased odds of discomfort (OR = 0.37, P = .01) and lower overall discomfort (β = −0.19, P < .001, d = 0.42) versus SIT. Discomfort during SIT-STAND was lower in the lower and upper back, but higher in the legs (all Ps< .01, d = 0.26–0.42). Sleepiness (β = −0.09, P = .01, d = 0.15) and physical fatigue (β = −0.34, P = .002, d = 0.34) were significantly lower in SIT-STAND. Mental fatigue was similar across conditions. Conclusions: Sit-stand desks may reduce acute levels of sleepiness, physical fatigue, and both overall and back discomfort. However, levels of lower extremity discomfort may be increased with acute exposure.

Kowalsky is with the Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX. Perdomo is with the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS. Taormina, Kline, and Jakicic are with the Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Hergenroeder is with the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Balzer is with the Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Gibbs is with the Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Kowalsky (Robert.Kowalskjr@tamuk.edu) is corresponding author.
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