Effects of standing on typing task performance and upper limb discomfort, vascular and muscular indicators

Standing is a popular alternative to traditionally seated computer work. However, no studies have described how standing impacts both upper body muscular and vascular outcomes during a computer typing task. Twenty healthy adults completed two 90-min simulated work sessions, seated or standing. Upper limb discomfort, electromyography (EMG) from eight upper body muscles, typing performance and neck/shoulder and forearm blood flow were collected. Results showed significantly less upper body discomfort and higher typing speed during standing. Lower Trapezius EMG amplitude was higher during standing, but this postural difference decreased with time (interaction effect), and its variability was 68% higher during standing compared to sitting. There were no effects on blood flow. Results suggest that standing computer work may engage shoulder girdle stabilizers while reducing discomfort and improving performance. Studies are needed to identify how standing affects more complex computer tasks over longer work bouts in symptomatic workers.

Source: Fedorowich, L. M. et Côté, J. N. (2018). Applied ergonomics, 72, 121-127.

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