Effect of alternating postures on cognitive performance for healthy people performing sedentary work

Bernhard Schwartz, Jay M. Kapellusch, Andreas Schrempf, Kathrin Probst, Michael Haller, Arnold Baca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for several diseases and the prevalence of worksite-based interventions such as sit-to-stand workstations is increasing. Although their impact on sedentary behaviour has been regularly investigated, the effect of working in alternating body postures on cognitive performance is unclear. To address this uncertainty, 45 students participated in a two-arm, randomised controlled cross-over trial under laboratory conditions. Subjects executed validated cognitive tests (working speed, reaction time, concentration performance) either in sitting or alternating working postures on two separate days (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02863731). MANOVA results showed no significant difference in cognitive performance between trials executed in alternating, standing or sitting postures. Perceived workload did not differ between sitting and alternating days. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed significant learning effects regarding concentration performance and working speed for both days. These results suggest that working posture did not affect cognitive performance in the short term. Practitioner Summary: Prior reports indicated health-related benefits based on alternated (sit/stand) body postures. Nevertheless, their effect on cognitive performance is unknown. This randomised controlled trial showed that working in alternating body postures did not influence reaction time, concentration performance, working speed or workload perception in the short term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-795
Number of pages18
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2018


  • Alternating body postures
  • cognitive performance
  • randomised controlled trial
  • sit-to-stand workstation
  • Healthy Volunteers/psychology
  • Humans
  • Attention
  • Male
  • Work/psychology
  • Posture/physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Young Adult
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Cognition/physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Sedentary Behavior


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