What are the effects of sitting versus standing on perceptual reasoning performance throughout a simulated working day?

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Leahy, Nicholas James
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Patston, Lucy
Mannion, Jamie
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
perceptual reasoning performance
standing desks
active desks
sedentary workers
office workers
Leahy, N. J. (2016). What are the effects of sitting versus standing on perceptual reasoning performance throughout a simulated working day? An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Background Sedentary behaviour has been linked to deleterious health effects. While improved health markers after standing in comparison to sitting conditions have been reported by other studies, the current evidence regarding the effect of these conditions on cognitive performance is incomplete. No studies thus far have attempted to compare the difference between sitting and standing in regards to Perceptual Reasoning performance. Objective To determine the effects of sitting and standing on Perceptual Reasoning performance throughout a simulated working day. Methods A repeated-measures cross-over design was used, with 30 healthy participants between 18 and 50 years who were age and sex matched. Participants were assigned to either standing or sitting conditions while performing a cognitive test battery three times during a 7.5 hour testing day that included three tasks of Perceptual Reasoning (Block Design, Figure Weights and Matrix Reasoning). The two testing days were split into Morning, Midday, and Afternoon testing sessions and were counterbalanced across seated and standing conditions, separated by at least a seven day washout period. Results There were no significant main effects found between sitting and standing conditions in any of the Perceptual Reasoning tasks. Performance across the day, however, did improve significantly in the speed of Block Design performance and the accuracy of the Figure Weights tasks. Performance across the day for the Matrix Reasoning task, however, was variable. In addition, the participants’ perception of their own fatigue increased significantly over each session as the day proceeded. Conclusion This study found no difference in participants’ Perceptual Reasoning performance between sitting and standing, and mixed results in terms of performance across the day (7.5 hours of testing), although fatigue increased as the day proceeded. The results support the use of standing desks in the workplace given no detriment to performance whilst standing was found. Further research into the effects of sit-stand interventions on Perceptual Reasoning, and cognitive performance in general, over longer periods of time are recommended
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