Think standing desks are a fad that will disappear? Well, think again. Standing desks have research supporting their benefits. And it might be time for you to switch to them too.
Sitting All Day Long Is Bad
It is no secret that sitting around too much is severely bad for your physical and mental health. According to research, sitting for extended time periods has a detrimental effect on your well-being. Yet, a majority of Americans, and others around the world, spend a big chunk of their time sitting without thinking too much about it.
It is widely known that people who are continuously seated for long hours are at an increased risk of getting diabetes as well as heart diseases which ultimately lead to early death. Moreover, since sitting burns hardly any calories, numerous studies have linked sitting to obesity and weight gain as well.
This is one problem that a majority of office workers face since their work demands sitting around for almost the entire day. Experts are still not sure how sitting causes all these problems; however, office goers are advised to get up and walk around whenever it is possible throughout the day.
Of course, it isn’t always possible to abandon the work you have been assigned for a stroll, which is why people have now started to turn to standing desks.
Welcome the Standing Desks
As the name suggests, standing desks provide you with the opportunity of standing up while you work. This might sound pretty tiring and uncomfortable, but standing desks are designed in such a manner that they provide you with maximum comfort.
Research regarding standing desks is still in its development stages, and there is a long way to go. But one thing is clear, and that’s making use of a standing desk provides numerous health benefits. Using such desk has been found to increase overall productivity as well. And of course, using such a desk can reduce the harmful effects that come with sitting a lot.
Various Styles of Standing Desks
The types of standing desks available are quite versatile. They can vary from stationary surfaces that are similar to raised tables to floating desks that can transition from sitting desks to a standing one in just a few movements.
Moreover, there have also been customized versions of these desks that people designed on their own. Today, many of these desks are adjustable thus providing you with the chance of changing the height of the desk as you please and alternating between standing and sitting.
Regardless of the style, the primary function of such a desk is the same which is to cut down the time you spend sitting while your work.
Benefits of Standing Desks
Thinking of investing in a standing desk? Then you must become aware of some of the advantages that it has.
1. Reduces risk of obesity
This might sound surprising, but standing reduces the risk of gaining weight and obesity. A person starts to gain weight when he or she takes in a greater number of calories than the body is able to burn.
Of course, there is nothing more effective than exercise to burn calories in a short time. However, standing as opposed to sitting has also proven to be beneficial.
According to studies, when you spend an afternoon doing sedentary work versus spending an equal amount of time standing, then you can burn 170 additional calories only by standing!
This means that you can burn up to 1000 calories every week simply by standing while you work.
This difference in calories is one of the primary reasons why sitting for an extended period has often been linked to metabolic diseases and obesity.
2. Reduction in risk of cancer
Studies show that colon cancer, as well as breast cancer, have been strongly linked to lack of various physical activities. A survey showed that a majority of the cases of both cancers had been caused because of prolonged sitting.
There is no definite answer as to how or why sitting is related to both type of cancer, but there is one possibility, and that’s sitting for an extended period increases the production of the C-reactive protein which can lead to colon and breast cancer.
3. Extended life period
It is evident that mortality will rise particularly because sitting has been linked to diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart diseases. Findings from studies show that Americans increase the life expectancy by around two years only by sitting for three hours instead of six in a day.
4. Improvement in posture
By using a standing desk, you can improve your posture which ultimately reduces the amount of strain put on your eyes. However, to improve your posture, it is crucial that your standing desk is set up in the right manner. Moreover, simply standing improves the core strength as well which leads to overall better posture.
5. Less chance of developing chronic diseases.
As mentioned above, sitting for long is harmful to the heart as well as vascular function. This implies that standing can reduce this damage to a certain extent; therefore, another benefit of using a standing desk is that it reduces the chances of you becoming a victim of chronic diseases.
6. Improves cholesterol level and blood sugar
According to studies, standing for two extra hours per day as compared to sitting leads to a reduction in the average blood sugar level by 2%. Similarly, people who decided to stand instead of sit also had 11% lower triglycerides. Moreover, standing for the extra hours was also linked to having a lesser amount of bad cholesterol and a higher amount of HDL which is the good cholesterol.
7. Boosts productivity
It has been established by now that a working on a standing desk is linked to a reduction in sedentary behavior. But the real question is if it has any effect on the productivity of a person? Research suggests that individuals who work while using standing desks have been found to be 45% more productive than those that spend their office hours sitting.
How to Switch From a Sitting Desk to a Standing One
Making the transition from a sitting to a standing desk might sound easy, but it is, in fact, a little painful for starters. Here is how you should go about it:
1. Start slowly
Don’t directly jump from sitting for six hours to standing the entire time in one go. Try to sit for only three hours throughout your day. A good method is to start with 20 minutes increments and then keep on increasing the time as you start getting used to it.
When you think about it, standing doesn’t seem like too much work. However, since the body has the habit of sitting for a major chunk of the day, standing too much, and without allowing your body to ease into it, will put a strain on your body. It would take you around two weeks to be able to stand for hours without getting tired continuously.
2. Have a pair of shoes ready
To make the job easier, get your hands on a comfortable pair of shoes. A few people are wary about sacrificing fashion just to stand up for hours at work but it is only for your ease since standing in harness boots, or high heels will hurt you. Just have a pair of shoes stored in your cubicle and switch your shoes when you decide to stand and work.
3. Get an anti-fatigue gel mat
To make it even easier and to help you be successful, you should get a gel mat for your feet. An anti-fatigue gel mat provides you with extra cushioning that will enable you to stand for long hours plus it is not too harsh on the knees.
Even a floor mat measuring half an inch will work. However, if you are standing for more than twelve hours, then a thicker mat will be more suitable for you.
4. Think ergonomically
You should try to go for ergonomically designed standing desks that you can lower or raise as this helps to increase productivity and minimizes fatigue as well. Many other things can assist you with ergonomics as well. When you are standing, your arms should be perpendicular to the desk. The screen of your computer should be at your eye-level. Also, ensure that the monitor is at least an arm away from you.
5. Be conscious of your posture
When you are standing, you should try to focus on your overall posture as well. It is quite easy to fall back into old habits. Don’t slouch, keep your back straight, and don’t strain your eyes too much.
6. Opt for a stand-up leaning seat
Of course, it is only natural if you feel tired during the transition from a sitting desk to a standing one. Get yourself a stand-up leaning seat. As the name implies, it will allow you to lean in a comfortable manner. You can continue working on your standing desk without adding pressure on your hips and torso.
7. Don’t let the standing desk stop you
In the beginning, you might find the desk distracting. So, concentrate fully on the task during working hours. With time, you will be able to adjust to the desk and will learn to refocus.
8. Keep moving
To gain the optimal health benefits out of the standing desk, try your best to walk through your day. Aim for walking 10,000 steps daily. You can invest in a fitness tracker or a pedometer to keep track of your steps and incorporate as many steps as you can during work.
So, there you have it. Switching to a standing desk can not only make you productive but also comes with numerous health benefits. Of course, it might be tough to make the transition in the beginning, but with time your body will adjust and reap the benefits.