Morning Rounds: Can standing desks turn your health around?

NORFOLK, Va. - Studies have linked prolonged sitting to a risk for early death recently, causing an interest in standing desks.  Do they really improve health, or are they just a fad?

"Yes, the standing desk does help with overall health," said Dr. Ryan Light on News 3 This Morning.  "Standing desks often motivate us to walk more frequently during the work day and also help with your general fitness.  The combination of standing and sitting throughout the work day has the best benefit."

"A reduction in physical activity increases the risk of premature death," explained Dr. Light.  "Research finds that sitting all day increases our risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.  A sedentary lifestyle diminishes overall health.  Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes can also increase a person's risk for some types of cancer."

However, Dr. Light said standing desks come with their own set of problems.

"Standing all day does increase the risk of joint pain due to lack of movement at the desk or poor posture," he said.  "The best advice is to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the work day and even to incorporate short walking breaks several times during the day."