Quick, stand up! Stop slouching over your computer while you waste away writing articles… or, ya know, doing other types of work!
Sitting at a desk for long periods of time is one of the worst things for your health and well-being. But sitting is an unfortunate and fundamental aspect of office workers in the American workplace. Luckily, there has been a growing trend in different types of standing desks in the workplace. There are even small ones you can buy and use on any desk-like surface in your house if you’ve since switched to a home office.
Read on for the benefits of standing desks…
If you’re like most people, your job probably requires you to sit behind a computer for 40 hours a week or more while pressing buttons and scrolling your way to the next paycheck. Then you walk to your car and sit for another long period until you get home and sit back down on your couch until it’s time to lie down for eight hours. Lather. Rinse. Repeat!
Ah, the joys of being a human.
It doesn’t take long to recognize the strain and physical toll that sitting all day has on our bodies and minds. In fact, it is proven that people who sit a lot have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, neck strain, varicose veins, and early death. And more research is done every day that proves standing for at least a few hours a day is far better for your health than a bunch of sitting time.
It has even been said that sitting is the new smoking! You surely wouldn’t smoke cigarettes for eight hours a day (hopefully!), so why would you sit for eight hours a day?
The answer is usually because you are just used to it. But don’t be afraid to try a change. After all, based on the research, it might just save your life. Look for employers who offer standing desks, and you will find that almost 60% of employers now provide standing desks as an option to their employees as a benefit.
You might be surprised to find out that an email to HR asking for accommodations at your desk will lead to them paying for a smaller tabletop standing desk unit for a laptop or monitor. It never hurts to ask!
Now that you know some of the many risks associated with prolonged sitting, let’s examine the many benefits of standing desks.
First, what is a standing desk? Also called a stand-up desk, a standing desk allows you to stand while working your desk job. Some are fixed in a standing position, but most modern versions have a height adjustment capability, allowing you to switch from sitting to standing. Sit-stand desks are the best of both worlds. Comfort, ergonomics, and health benefits? Yes, please.
When using a standing desk, you will want to make sure you are using it properly. Otherwise, you risk doing more harm than good. When setting up your desk, make sure you adjust it to be elbow height. Your elbows should meet the desk at a ninety-degree angle. You want to keep your neck neutral and wrists straight in front of you. The same rules should be applied to sitting desks, FYI.
Your hands should then be able to hover over the keyboard and mouse with fingers hanging down to meet the keyboard. There should be no incline or decline in your wrists. Setting yourself up in this way will help prevent injury or muscle discomfort throughout the workday.
When standing, keep your neck tall and relax your shoulders (we know it’s hard when you are carrying all that tension from the mound of work you need to get done, but try your best!).
Make sure you keep your knees slightly bent while standing at your desk. You don’t want your legs hyperextended or locked joints. Both of these things create a higher risk for discomfort.
Good standing posture requires a neutral spine. This means that the muscles surrounding the spine are supporting the body equally. This limits the risk for injury as most back problems come from bad posture with a sedentary lifestyle.
Burn it Up
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that sitting around all day will lead to weight gain. Again, sitting is bad for your health, so it stands to reason that standing would be good for your health! This is the case as long as you stand correctly. More acutely, though, standing burns a higher number of calories than sitting.
While it’s not much, and you won’t go from fat to slim from doing it, the calorie burn from standing a few hours a day will ultimately add up to weight loss. Standing a few hours a day burns 12% more calories than sitting. You can lose almost six pounds a year by standing at work! And standing will have added health benefits of creating higher energy levels. You’ll want to be more active which in turn may lead to healthier choices overall, so give it a chance!
Sugar, How’d You Get So Fly?
Sugar is the best! That is until your blood sugar levels start rising and put you at risk of diabetes. If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, standing at work can help!
Your body’s blood sugar levels increase after eating no matter what, but your body reacts differently to that spike depending on whether you stand or sit. Some studies have shown that standing for 30 minutes to two hours after lunch can lower blood sugar levels by over 40%. Standing for 30-minute increments during the day can also reduce blood sugar spikes by 11%.
These studies should come as no surprise since it has long been known that sedentary time has always been linked to a greater risk of developing type two diabetes. If you can’t see yourself standing up several times during the day, at least try to commit to doing so for a short period after lunch. Not only will it help your blood sugar, but it will also aid in your digestion.
Back to Back
Back pain is one of the most common health issues, affecting one in four adults. One of the most common causes of this issue is poor posture. While standing desks won’t fix your poor posture (that takes some work on your part), alternating between sitting and standing can help alleviate discomfort.
Some studies have shown that after several weeks of standing, many people saw a 32% improvement in lower back pain. Further studies have found that after four weeks, upper back pain and neck pain were reduced by 54%. Without the ability to stand, participants in these studies regressed in just a two-week period.
If you are suffering from back pain, incorporating stand workstations and better posture into your work routine can be a great aid to your daily life.
Working Too Hard Can Give You a Heart Attack-ack-ack-ack
You oughta know by now!
It probably seems extreme, but the idea that standing is better for your heart’s health has been around for a very long time.
Studies have shown that those who stood all day had half the risk of heart disease-related deaths as those who sat all day. Further research has shown that longer sedentary time can increase the risk of heart disease up to 147%
You might think that exercise will offset the damage done by sitting, but that is not always the case. Try your best to spend less time sitting in order to protect your heart. Improve blood circulation and lower your risk of cardiovascular events that spell danger.
Put a Smile on Your Face
Standing at your desk seems to have a positive effect on your overall mood as well. Standing is thought to help reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue as well as depression.
Those who stand periodically at work reported feeling more invigorated than their coworkers. Standing can also improve mental focus and lead to the creation of new brain cells.
While it may seem like a chore at first, you will quickly find that standing at work will improve your well-being.
Produce More Productivity
You have probably been reprimanded by management at least once in your life due to low productivity. It happens to the best of us! Standing at work can increase your overall productivity and who knows, maybe even help your career.
While some may think that standing at work will hurt your ability to complete daily tasks, the opposite may in fact be true. Studies show that there is no impact on productivity when switching to a standing desk. In fact, if you take into account the improved mood and increased energy you get from standing, you will likely be able to crank out more work than before!
Get Busy Standing or Get Busy Dying
Standing at your desk may even extend your life. Yes, sitting, as well as all sedentary time, can lead to early death. We already covered the link to diabetes and heart disease, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that those who sit the most are at a greater risk of dying than those who sit the least.
You could extend your life by up to two years by standing three hours a day! So stop sitting around and letting your life waste away. Stand up and live life to the fullest by getting a new standing desk! Whether you have an adjustable desk, a sit-stand workstation, or even a treadmill desk, this is a great change to make.
If you think a standing desk is a great idea, check out our other ones here at Bulbhead.