Sitting around is something we get plenty of practice at. Reading and writing and creating on a computer makes for big chunks of sedentary time. If you’re reading this post right now, are you sitting down? How long have you been sitting?
In a small study , 28 office workers were given a sit/stand desk for a month and reduced their time spent in a sedentary position by 38 minutes a day compared to when they used a traditional desk. Also reported were mood boosts, increased energy, and reduced fatigue.
It’s being said sitting is the modern health equivalent of smoking and more people are spending longer hours sitting in front of their office computers. Are standing desks the solution to rising rates of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity? Below are some benefits of using a standing desk as opposed to sitting all day.
- The number and volume of the muscles that you use for standing are higher than sitting, so standing definitely burns more calories than sitting. This could lead to less risk of obesity, because you’re burning more calories standing than sitting. A number of studies have found strong correlations between the amount of time a person spends sitting and his or her chance of dying within a given period of time, because of the reduced chance of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- Lower early mortality risk. A 2012 study found that when people reduced their sitting time to only two or three hours a day, their life expectancy increased.
- Standing is preferable because sitting for extended periods can be damaging to the spine. Sitting all day causes sustained contracture of the abdominal and hamstring muscles. This creates an imbalance which affects the mechanics of the lower back. Minimize this imbalance and help maintain better spinal alignment and muscle symmetry by using a standing desk—even for a portion of your workday.
- A standing desk is a smart option, if you want to improve your posture and reduce eye strain. Standing improves your core strength, which leads to better overall posture.
- It is reported that ovarian, prostate, lung, and endometrial cancer also showed a strong connection to prolonged sitting, so standing can help reduce this risk.
- Employees report less frequent and less intense headaches among those who use a stand-up computer desk.
- Standing gives you an energy boost. Using a standing desk helps your blood flow freely and delivers more oxygen to your muscles, so you feel better, longer. When you stand, this removes some pressure on internal organs, which allows everything to function better. This means that you’re likely to be able to concentrate longer on each task, with the increased energy from standing up. It’s easier to stay on task by standing at your desk rather than sitting.
- Sitting for hours can result in craning your neck toward your monitor letting your spine fall into a harmful “C” shape. Standing at work will elongate your spine and restores the natural “S” shape to your spine.
- Standing increases more blood flow to the brain which allows for improved job performance. A Mayo Clinic study shows you can burn an additional 340 calories a day if you spend just two hours of your work day working while standing.
- Working at an adjustable-height sit-to-stand desk can also increase flexibility. Excessive sitting decreases the range of motion for all your muscle groups.
- Reduced risk of obesity. People who stand more walk around more. And people who walk around more burn more calories. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Sitting all day seems to be related to reducing the body’s effectiveness in regulating blood sugar known as metabolic syndrome, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
- Reduced risk of heart disease. A recent Kaiser Permanente study suggested that men who spent at least five hours a day sitting had twice the risk of heart failure when compared to those who sit less than two hours a day and exercise often.
- Standing desks appear to reduce back pain, which is one of the most common complaints of office workers who sit all day. Several studies show that standing desks can dramatically decrease chronic back pain caused by prolonged sitting.
- Standing desks help improve mood and energy levels. One study found that standing desks can lower feelings of stress and fatigue, which in turn, is likely to boost productivity.