If you have a hard time paying attention and being productive at work, an activity-promoting desk may be the answer, according to new research. Desks that allow you to alternate between sitting and standing, or walk on a treadmill, could help you get more done.

The research specifically found that people who used the sit-stand or walking desks had better focus and time-management skills and lower levels of stress hormones.

“Previous research on activity-promoting desks has mainly focused on the health benefits for employees who sit less during the work day,” study author Nicholas Gilson said in a statement. “We have gone one step further and investigated the associations between sitting all day and the productivity of workers.”

Read: Is Standing The Key To Losing Weight? Sit-Stand Desks Burn Calories Daily

In the small pilot study, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, researchers from the University of Queensland invited 20 participants in the laboratory to do their own desk work on either a sit-only, sit-stand, or treadmill desk. Participants’ brain activity was measured using electro-caps, worn on the scalp, which record electrical activity. Their stress levels were also measured through saliva samples.

“The workers who used sit-stand or walking desks allocated attention most effectively and had lower levels of cortisol - known as the 'stress hormone' - in their saliva,” Gilson said.

The data also revealed differences in attention and stress response between workers who remain seated for a majority of their work day and those who alternated between sitting and standing or using the walking desk every half hour.

Read: On Your Feet: Students’ Cognitive Functioning Improved When Using Standing Desks

“We found people who use activity-promoting desks were more able to focus on urgent tasks, avoid non-urgent tasks and manage stress better than people sitting at a desk all day,” Gilson said.

Prior research has associated activity-promoting desks with a long-list of health benefits. Some studies suggest standing while working may help blood sugar levels return to normal faster after a meal compared to days a person spends more time sitting, according to Harvard Medical School. Also, standing may help reduce the risk of shoulder and back pain. Harvard also points out other benefits that are linked to standing in general (whether at work, home, or other situations) rather than standing solely during work. The benefits are tied to the belief that prolonged sitting is associated with a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, breast cancer and premature death.

It’s not advised to make a quick switch from a sitting desk to a standing one because it may come with unexpected back, leg or foot pain. Instead, you should slowly start standing for 30-minutes at a time and gradually increase it. Experimenting with different time intervals can help you find what works best for you and your body.

See also: ‘Deskercises’ And Office Stretches To Help You Stay Fit, Despite Your Sedentary Work Lifestyle

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