There are currently more than 863,000 office workers in the US.
In most cases, office workers have a very similar setup: a computer, a chair, and a desk. While this is often very suitable for the type of work they may do, there are some issues.
Most people will spend about 40 hours a week working, and for an office worker, this means about 40 hours a week sitting down. In recent years standing desks have become more popular. They offer a range of benefits and should be considered by anyone who has a desk job.
To find out more about the best standing desk benefits and why you should be using one, keep reading.
What Is a Standing Desk?
Standing desks are exactly what they sound like - desks you can stand at to work. Desk jobs generally involve a lot of sitting, and while this is typically more comfortable, there can come a point where you're sitting too much. A standing desk is a convenient solution as prolonged periods of sitting can have negative effects that many people are unaware of.
These desks are typically designed so that the user can adjust the height to any level between the minimum and maximum point. This makes them suitable for people of different heights. Some are controlled manually, while others are powered by electricity for convenience.
There are also different types available. Some are desk conversions, which sit on top of standard desks, allowing you to raise your laptop, monitor, etc. You can also purchase models where the whole desk is adjustable.
Why Use a Standing Desk?
Standing desks are fairly new, so there isn't much conclusive research on the benefits. With that being said, it does seem apparent that standing desks can offer several benefits in terms of mental, physical, and emotional health.
Standing at a desk all day may seem strenuous. With a standing desk, you can switch between standing and sitting as much as you like throughout the day.
1. Lowers Risk of Weight Gain
One of the clearer benefits of standing desks is that they can help prevent weight gain. You'll put on weight if you're consuming more calories than you're burning. It's good to do regular exercise to keep yourself healthy and burn off excess calories.
Many people work manual jobs where they burn a lot of calories every day, but this isn't so much the case with desk jobs. Sitting at a desk all day, you'll burn very few calories. Spending some time standing can help with this.
In small amounts, this may not make a huge difference, but over time it adds up. You can burn hundreds of calories a week just by spending some time standing at your desk rather than sitting. It may be one of the easiest ways to increase the number of calories you burn each day.
2. Can Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
The idea behind this dates back to the 1950s. Studies were done involving bus drivers (who worked sitting down) and their conductors (who worked standing up), comparing their risk of heart disease. It was found that the drivers were twice as likely to die from heart disease.
Since then, other studies have taken place, giving similar results. It's a widely accepted fact that spending more time standing will help reduce your risk of heart disease. With a standing desk, you can significantly increase the time you spend on your feet.
3. Helps With Back Pain
If you work a desk job, you may well have had issues with back pain in the past. It's one of the most common health issues that office workers exhibit, and it can be directly linked to the amount of time spent sitting down. This can also be made a lot worse through several other factors.
Poor quality chairs that don't offer the right support will leave you with more back pain. Having bad posture can add to this as well.
Standing desks have been shown to reduce back pain, sometimes in just a matter of weeks. This can include the lower back, upper back, and even the neck. For conclusive results, some studies have then removed the standing desks and found that the pain returns to participants in 2 weeks or less.
The Take-a-Stand Project tested this over a 7-week period and found that by standing instead of sitting for 66 minutes, a day, individuals experienced 54% less back and neck pain.
Getting a chair that provides proper support and helps with posture can provide some improvements, but if you really want to reduce back pain, then an ergonomic desk is the way to go.
4. Boosts Energy Levels
It may seem like standing all day would reduce energy levels. Sitting takes less energy, so surely you'd feel more well-rested if you spend more time sitting, right?
It turns out that the opposite is generally true. Being in a rested position can easily make you feel less energetic - hence why it's much easier to fall asleep laying down than it is standing up. You could even consider investing in a standing desk mat to further help reduce feelings of fatigue.
5. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Any time you eat, it will increase your blood sugar levels. The amount it goes up depends on what you've eaten. This is even more true for people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
Studies have shown that blood sugar level spikes after a meal will be much higher if the individual sits after eating than it will if they instead choose to stand. Similar studies have also shown that you can reduce blood sugar levels by alternating between standing and sitting throughout the day.
This can be linked to the fact that there's a correlation between sitting after meals and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
6. Improve Your Mood
There are several ways that a standing desk can benefit you physically, but using one can also provide mental health benefits.
Some people experience headaches and insomnia as a result of muscle tension. This can, in turn, lead to stress. Spending more time standing can help alleviate this.
By switching between sitting and standing, you'll be in a better state of mind. This will help improve your work and can even be beneficial in other aspects of your life.
7. Increased Productivity
Some people express the concern that standing desks may be detrimental to people's ability to work effectively. In reality, it's been shown that standing for several hours instead of sitting has no negative effects on things like words typed per minute or the number of errors made.
Many of the aspects mentioned above can have a positive influence on your performance at work. This includes things like:
- Energy levels
The better state you're in mentally, the more productive you will be at work. It will help you focus on projects and may increase your ability to think innovatively. Knowing that you've done a good day's work can, in turn, elevate your mood further.
8. May Help You Live Longer
It may come as no surprise that links have been found between a large amount of time spent sitting down and early deaths. This can be tied to the health concerns mentioned above (heart disease, blood sugar levels, diabetes) and others.
Multiple studies have shown that people who spend most of their time sitting are far more likely to die early when compared with those who spend very little time sitting. Generally, these observations haven't proven cause and effect, but the evidence is very strong. Using a standing desk for a portion of your working day will more than likely help you live longer.
9. Enhanced Team Building and Communication
Teamwork is crucial within many organizations. Ensuring that different employees and departments are communicating properly will help streamline processes and maximize efficiency.
While the connection here might not be obvious, it's fairly simple. Bringing in standing desks will change the atmosphere of a workplace. Things will feel more open and easygoing, which will lend itself to more open communications throughout the office.
This can help create a more collaborative work environment where people learn to work together better. It can also improve social aspects, helping people form relationships with their colleagues.
10. Improves Posture
As discussed above, poor posture can lead to back and neck issues, as well as migraines and stress. Ergonomic chairs can help with this, but many people will still maintain a bad posture regardless of the type of chair they're using. By spending a portion of your day standing, you'll naturally improve your posture, helping to avoid these issues.
Another option that can help is standing desk chairs. These come in various forms, such as our Wobble Stool. They can improve your posture and may have benefits such as encouraging movement, helping to burn calories, and improving your overall health.
A standing desk chair can be a good balance between standing and sitting, providing several advantages without constantly keeping you on your feet.
11. Reduce Arm and Wrist Strain
Many people aren't aware of the strain that office work can put on your arms and wrists. This is something only long-time office workers are likely to experience, but it can affect your ability to work and may cause long-lasting damage.
The angle you have your arms at while working is key here. You want to try to keep them at a 90° angle and have your wrists level. This will reduce arm pain while minimizing the strain on your wrists.
It's much easier to achieve this with a standing desk than it is from a seated position. You can add this to the list of health benefits of using a standing desk.
12. Reduces Caffeine Intake
Amongst office workers, coffee is one of the most useful tools to help them get through the day. Like most things, however, too much can be bad. Many people would like to reduce the amount of caffeine they consume, but they rely on it to keep them energized throughout the work day - some people struggle to even get started without it.
We've already mentioned that using a standing desk can increase energy levels, and in this way, it can reduce the amount of caffeine that you need. While caffeine can give you a good boost initially, it can burn you out after a while. This means that drinking a morning coffee will often have you feeling more tired in the afternoon, impacting your work.
By lowering the amount of caffeine you consume, you can avoid this afternoon slump. A standing desk can give you the energy you need, and you'll feel better overall.
Finding the Best Standing Desk
Based on the above, it's quite clear that using a standing desk can be a good idea. It can benefit both your mental and physical health and improve the quality of your work. There are still some factors to think about, however.
Mainly, what type of standing desk to get. At Uncaged Ergonomics, we have various standing desk conversion solutions that can sit right on top of your current desk, allowing you to use it in a seated or standing position. We also have standing desks that can replace your old desk, available in various sizes and colors.
On top of that, we sell a range of other ergonomic products such as active chairs, laptop stands, and anti-fatigue maps. You can find our products on our website or at various retailers. If you have any questions or want some advice on finding the best standing desk for you, click here to contact us today.