We've all heard that sedentary lifestyles and deskbound jobs can lead to health problems such as obesity and cancer.

But now it seems the reverse is also true - with researchers finding that too much standing can be bad for you as well.

Up to half the world's employees spend 75 per cent or more of their working day on their feet, from those working in agriculture or construction to assembly lines, waitressing or retail.

A study has found that while the short-term effects are aching joints and sore feet, in the long term they could suffer painful back problems or permanent muscle damage.


Companies could also lose out thanks to increased sickness and lower productivity, according to scientists from the Swiss university ETH Zurich.

Researcher Maria Gabriela Garcia told the journal Human Factors: "Work-related musculoskeletal implications that can be caused by prolonged standing are a burden not only for workers but also for companies and society. Long-term muscle fatigue caused by standing for long periods of time has not received much attention."

In an experiment she asked participants to stand for five hours, but gave them regular breaks and a 30-minute lunch. On average they felt tired for around 30 minutes after the five-hour period. But researchers found their bodies often took far longer than half an hour to get back to normal.

Professor Garcia went on to say: "Long-term fatigue after prolonged standing work may be present without being perceived."

The researchers warned that current timetables for workers who have to stand for their jobs "may not be adequate" to combat the risk of long-term musculoskeletal disorders.

Spending four hours or more each day standing can lead to problems including aching muscles, corns, bunions and excess pressure on hip, knee and ankle joints.

Other symptoms include lower limb swelling, varicose veins and back pain. Coronary heart disease and arthritis can also be worsened by standing for long periods.

- Daily Mail