Thinking while standing : an exploratory study on the effect of standing on cognitive performance
Patston, Lucy; Henry, Aaron N.; McEwen, Megan; Mannion, Jamie; Ewens-Volynkina, L. A.
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Citation:L. L. M. Patston, A. N. Henry, M. McEwen, J. Mannion, and L. A. Ewens-Volynkina (2017). Thinking while standing: An exploratory study on the effect of standing on cognitive performance. (Unitec ePress Occasional and Discussion Paper Series 2017/3). Unitec ePress. ISSN 2324-3635 Retrieved from http://www.unitec.ac.nz/epress
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3941
Sedentary behaviour is extremely prevalent in Western societies and is significantly associated with an elevated risk of all-cause mortality that cannot be mitigated by physical activity. The introduction of standing desks into the workplace offers a solution to this inactivity, but there is limited investigation regarding the effects of standing on cognition, which is a major consideration in much office-based work. This study aims to provide an exploratory investigation on the effect on cognitive performance of standing while working. We tested 30 office-based adults on a battery of 19 cognitive tasks (tapping five cognitive domains) in a randomised, repeated measures crossover design study. Two conditions (standing versus sitting) were investigated over two 7.5-hour work days including morning, midday and afternoon sessions (Time of Day). Effects were analysed using multivariate two-way repeated-measures ANOVAs (Condition by Time of Day) for five cognitive domains. Overall, after correcting for multiple comparisons, there were no differences in performance between sitting and standing. At an uncorrected level, however, significant effects of Condition were found in three of the 19 tasks, with all demonstrating better performance while standing. Importantly, these results suggest that there is no detriment to cognitive performance through standing. They also provide an initial indication that there may be cognitive benefits of standing in the attention and working memory domains, which may be a promising avenue for future inquiry.