You’ve probably heard that using a standing desk has health benefits, but did you know that there has been considerable research over the past decade or so that supports standing while working? In this article, we link to a variety of facts and figures related to the health benefits of height adjustable workstations that you might find interesting.
A 2007 Cornell University study in 2007 comparing height adjustable desks to fixed desks found that office workers almost unanimously preferred height adjustable desks and employee productivity improved
MetLife’s U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Survey is conducted annually, and they consistently find that employees indicate that a benefits package often tips the scales when it comes to making the decision to choose a specific employer.
One of the most important employee perks is workplace ergonomics, which fosters a safety and health culture as a core value. People recognize the value of walking into a safe workplace; with the knowledge that their employer wants to keep their team healthy, employees are likely to be happier at work. Reducing ergonomic problems leads to fewer sick days, fewer injuries, and can reduce long-term, cumulative issues that can shorten a worker’s career. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says office workers can help prevent back pain by standing at least once every hour to move around—at least stretch, if not walk around a little.
Too Much Sitting is Dangerous
When you’re sitting, you’re usually fairly still, and it’s the lack of movement that causes problems over time. Sitting impedes proper circulation and can also lead to reduced mobility, flexibility, and even muscle loss . When you consider that office workers sit for most of their 8-hour workday, then sit in a car, bus, or train for a commute—and then sit in the evenings while browsing the internet or watching television, that adds up to a lot of sedentary hours each day.
The Mayo Clinic indicates that those who sit for four hours a day or more increase the risk of a cardiovascular event like chest pain or heart attack by about 125 percent . And the Center for Disease Control says that one in every four deaths in the United States is related to heart disease. They estimate that adds up to about 610,000 people every year.
Dr Callaghan (Professor of Spine Biomechanics at University of Waterloo) suggests alternating during the day between standing for 15 minutes and sitting for 45 minutes . This is easily achieved for those with an height adjustable workstation.
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.
An Australian study found that individuals 45 years and over who sit for more than 11 hours per day have 40% higher likelihood of death in the next 3 years than those who sit for less than 4 hours per day. Harvard Business Review reported that after just 1 hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat in our bodies declines by as much as 90% . Additionally, 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.
You’re sure to work more movement into your day when you use a height adjustable workstation—some people notice that they’re more likely to walk around more if they’re already standing. That definitely adds up to more movement throughout the day. When you increase your physical activity, you might even find that you’ve lowered your blood pressure or cholesterol levels .