These days, you can find standing desks more often in the workplace, because sitting all day isn’t good for you. People want to incorporate more physical activity into their lives, especially during the workday. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, says, “The default has become to sit. We need the default to be standing.” He and other scientists note that most people sit all day, with very short walks to the restroom, to the break room, or to the parking lot. And evidence suggests that brief exercise won’t counteract the negative effects of hours of sitting.
While you work, you probably don’t maintain perfect posture all day. Most of us tend to slump or slouch in one direction or another over time—resting your chin on one hand while you read, or even leaning forward, hunching over your keyboard. We spend a lot of hours sitting while working, and when our posture isn’t ideal, it can lead to back pain from straining your neck and other muscles. Poor posture can also lead to herniated discs and overall muscle weakness.
Height Adjustable Desks
Standing desks are great for burning extra calories and working more movement into your day. But did you know that working while standing has benefits for your back? The CDC conducted a study that demonstrated a reduction in upper back and neck pain by 54% by those who reduced their time sitting by just 66 minutes per day.
Standing desks—or height adjustable desks—are one way to work in a standing position to improve your posture, and can also provide the following benefits:
- 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.
- Reduced risk of cancer. Some studies have suggested that extended sitting may be linked to certain cancers, particularly breast and colon 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.
Even when you’re standing at your adjustable height computer workstation, you’ll want to check your posture periodically: if you stand too much you could risk hyperextending your knees. Hyperextending your knees puts too much pressure on the fibular nerve, which is one of the branches of the sciatic nerve; it starts behind your knee and runs alongside your calf bone.
You can help prevent fatigue as well as hyperextending your knees when you’re standing at your height adjustable standing desk while working by using a non flat anti fatigue mat. These mats feature contoured surfaces that help you stretch your calves, elevate one or both feet, and may even have a ball or roller to help you massage your feet. An active standing desk mat may look a bit strange, but they are better cushioned than ordinary anti fatigue mats, and the extra features promote movement and comfort.