Did you know that a recent survey showed that over 25% of Americans don't engage in physical activity outside their jobs? More and more Americans are sitting due to remote working since the pandemic.
As a result, many people have transitioned to a standing desk to improve their energy, mood, and overall health. However, a standing desk isn't for everyone and can be challenging to use if you have certain chronic health conditions. If you're wondering if a standing desk is right for you, it helps to learn about the pros and cons before making a decision.
In this guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about the pros and cons of using a standing desk!
Pros of Using a Standing Desk
Standing desks allow you to stand in a balanced and comfortable position while working. You can get different types of standing desks, like an adjustable desk. With these types of desks, you can change the height to alternate between standing and sitting.
In fact, there are many different types of standing desks you can choose from, like the Rise Up, that can fit comfortably in your office space.
Standing desks help you stay more active during the day and decrease time spent sitting. However, they offer many other benefits to your health and productivity that you may not have considered.
The pros of using a standing desk include the following:
Good posture is essential to your overall health. It helps keeps your bones and joints in alignment and cuts down on the wear and tear of joint surfaces. It may even prevent the onset of conditions like arthritis.
In addition, it reduces the strain on the muscles and ligaments in your spine. Since good posture allows you to use your muscles more efficiently, you'll also experience less fatigue. You'll also have less back pain and neck pain.
To maintain good posture, you must train your body to walk, sit, and lie down in a way that puts less strain on your muscles and ligaments. When standing, you'll need to stand straight, with your shoulders back. You'll also need to keep your head in line with your body.
Using a standing desk allows you to focus more on your posture during the day, reducing overall pain.
Decreases Neck and Back Pain
Back pain is a common problem among people who sit all day at work. Sitting all day causes extra stress on your spine. This stress can lead to muscle tension, poor posture, and even damage to the discs in your spine.
Herniated discs occur when one of your discs bulges, which can pinch nearby nerves, causing pain, numbers, and tingling.
In addition, if you don't have your computer monitor in the proper ergonomic position, you end up tilting your head down. As a result, you'll experience neck strain, tension, and pain.
In fact, one of the best ways to relieve back pain when sitting is to start moving. Using a standing desk allows you to stretch your muscles and move throughout the day without affecting your productivity.
Improves Mood and Energy Levels
Standing desks can also positively affect your mood and energy levels. Standing keeps your body moving, which improves blood flow, sending more oxygen to your organs, muscles, and ligaments.
Therefore, when you're standing, your brain becomes more engaged with the tasks you're working on. You'll also have more energy to stay focused on your work.
Sedentary behavior like sitting can also increase your risk of anxiety and depression. Using a standing desk can also help improve symptoms of these mental health conditions.
Standing Helps With Weight Gain
Ultimately, weight gain is caused when you take in more calories than you can burn off with physical activity.
There is no doubt that daily exercise and making healthy diet changes is the best way to lose weight. However, standing at work can help you to burn significantly more calories during the day. If you stand instead of sit, you can burn between 170 to 180 more calories each day.
If you have a five-day workweek, you could potentially burn between 800 to 900 additional calories each week.
Lowers Your Blood Sugar Levels
Spending too much time sitting throughout the day can cause blood sugar levels to increase. Sitting too much can also worsen health conditions like type 2 diabetes. Your blood sugar levels also increase after you eat a meal.
High blood sugar can cause severe damage to different parts of your body, like the kidneys, heart, eyes, nerves, and feet. Controlling your blood sugar is key to your overall health.
Breaking up periods of sitting during the day is a simple and effective way to manage your blood sugar levels. Standing and moving around for just 15 to 30 minutes can reduce the blood sugar spikes you experience during the day.
Since a standing desk allows you to alternate between sitting and standing, it can lower your blood sugar levels throughout the day.
In addition, using a balance board with your standing desk allows you to move from side to side or in a circle while you work. Having a balance board can increase your activity even more, which is better for your blood sugar overall.
Decreases Your Risk of Heart Disease
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease—the more time you spend sitting during the day, the more your risk increases.
Even if you exercise, sitting down for your entire workday can significantly impact your health. Too much sitting can lead to higher blood sugar levels, weight gain, and cholesterol levels. It also increases the chances of developing metabolic syndrome.
These conditions increase your risk of developing heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease (CAD).
When you use a standing desk, you'll increase your mobility throughout the day and decrease your risks of developing heart disease overall.
Cons of Standing Desks
While standing desks offer a lot of health benefits, they do have their drawbacks. One of the most significant hurdles people face when they first begin using a standing desk is jumping in too quickly and standing for too long.
When you first purchase a standing desk, you need to take the time to learn how to use it effectively. You'll also need to learn more about ergonomics and how to position your equipment correctly.
Other cons of standing desks include:
Fatigue and Soreness
Standing for prolonged periods can be tiring, especially when you're not used to standing for a good portion of the day. Some people experience sore feet and knees when using a standing desk.
It can also take time to adjust to standing, and you may feel even more fatigued trying to maintain a standing position.
For many people, standing while working can feel generally uncomfortable, and it's a big adjustment to make.
If you're considering switching to a standing desk after many years of sitting, it's best to take as much time as you need to make the transition.
Don't stand more than two hours a day when you first begin. Be sure to alternate between standing and sitting during the day. Over time, you can eventually work up to standing between 3 and 4 hours daily.
Can Lower Your Concentration and Energy Levels
Although, for the most part, standing desks boost energy levels and concentration, they can have the opposite effect for some people.
You won't be able to concentrate well if you're experiencing fatigue and soreness while using your desk. You might also feel a lack of energy later in the day.
Also, working while standing is a process that most people are unfamiliar with. It takes time to get used to this, and you'll also have equipment like your keyboard and computer in a different position.
Ultimately, problems with concentration and energy will improve for most people once they get used to a standing desk. On the other hand, some people have difficulty getting past these distractions.
You Can Develop Varicose Veins
The veins in your lower legs need to transport blood to and from your heart. Varicose veins can occur when the vein walls weaken. As a result, they stretch, becoming bigger and more noticeable.
Varicose veins most often occur from excess weight, restrictive clothing, and standing for long periods. Varicose veins can cause swelling, heaviness, achiness, and pain in your legs.
Varicose veins are common in many people. Luckily, lifestyle changes like exercising more and wearing compression stockings can help reduce symptoms and prevent them from worsening.
If you're going to use a standing desk, you'll need to avoid wearing restrictive clothing at work. You should also consider wearing compression stockings or socks.
Since standing too much can contribute to varicose veins, you'll need to be extra careful not to stand for too long and alternate your standing with sitting frequently.
May Aggravate Existing Health Problems
Although switching to a standing desk can help with back pain and posture, it can also aggravate existing injuries. For example, if you have chronic back pain or disc problems from a prior accident or injury, you might have trouble using a standing desk.
Health conditions like arthritis also might make standing too long at work difficult. This is because prolonged standing can put pressure on the joints, causing more stiffness and pain.
If you have these types of chronic health problems, you'll need to address them first. Seeing a physical therapist, massage therapist, or chiropractor is very helpful for many people.
Once you reduce your pain and increase mobility, you'll find using a standing desk much more manageable. On the other hand, if you discover using a standing desk isn't suited for you, addressing chronic pain will help you to improve your physical activity levels overall.
You'll Need to Rethink Your Footwear
Comfortable shoes aren't as important when you have a job that involves sitting most of the day. If you wear high heels to the office, it's easy to give your feet a break while sitting down.
However, when you start using a standing desk, you'll need to think seriously about your footwear. Your favorite pair of work shoes may not be suitable for standing.
Comfortable shoes are necessary when you're using a standing desk. If you don't wear comfortable shoes that fit correctly, you'll end up with sore feet and calluses. However, buying new shoes is an investment, and some people don't want to make this investment.
One way around this is to bring your favorite pair of comfortable shoes to work that you can change into during your standing periods.
You'll Need to Invest in Extra Equipment
To use a standing desk effectively, you'll need to have the right equipment in place. Anti-fatigue mats are designed specifically for standing desks. These mats have the proper level of cushioning and contour, allowing you to stand comfortably.
Equipment like adjustable keyboard trays and laptop stands help create an ergonomic workspace. This equipment helps keep your body in the correct alignment while you work at your standing desk.
However, buying this equipment is a long-term investment. No matter how many benefits a standing desk has, you may simply not be prepared to make this type of investment.
So, before you purchase a standing desk, do your research to find out more about the costs of the equipment and accessories you'll need. Doing this will help you make the best decision for your situation.
Using a Standing Desk
Now that you know more about the pros and cons of using a standing desk, you'll be better able to determine if it's the right choice for you.
If you're considering buying a desk, it's best to look at a variety of desk options. The good news is, you don't have to look any further than Uncaged Ergonomics. We offer a wide selection of standing desks, balance boards, laptop stands, anti-fatigue mats, and more.
We look forward to helping you find the best standing desk to meet your needs. Make sure to visit our website today to find the right standing desk for you!