If your career, has you in an office spending most of your time at an office desk and sitting most of the day, it is likely that after several years you are beginning to feel occasional discomfort in your back, neck or wrists, and other parts of your body too.
Additionally, if you do not have an active life outside of work, you might also be experiencing some weight gain and some other health issues.
The sedentary effects of spending day after day sitting at a desk can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Sitting does not burn many calories which is why it is easy to put on weight that can lead to obesity.
When you are sitting at work you are often concentrating on your work in front of you and not on how long you are sitting without moving, or your posture during sitting.
Correct posture when sitting at a desk is to have you body positioned in the center facing your monitor and keyboard. Sit up straight with feet resting flat on the floor. Your thighs should be horizontal with the knees and level with the hips.
Your forearms show be level to slightly titled up. For typing, your wrists should be in a straight and natural position
The main mistakes office workers make when sitting are:
Slouching – this pressure on the lower back, leading to hunching
Sitting cross-legged – this makes it difficult to sit up straight and leads to slouching
Hunching forward – leads to a tight chest and weak upper back, resulting in back pain and stiffness
Phone cradling – if you get into the habit of holding your phone between your ear and shoulder to enable yourself to keep typing, you can weaken your neck muscles which can lead to headaches.
These issues with posture and the risks possible from too much sitting can all be overcome by standing instead.
What Is a Standing Desk?
This is a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working.
They are adjustable, allowing you to change the height and alternate between sitting and standing.
It is believed that standing desks lead to health benefits and can also increase productivity. It certainly overcomes the effects of sitting too much.
Here are 7 benefits of using a standing desk.
Standing Lowers Your Risk of Weight Gain and Obesity
You gain weight by consuming more calories that you burn off.
Exercise is the most effective way to burn calories, but simply choosing to stand instead of sitting is also beneficial.
Tests have shown that standing all afternoon at work burns 170 calories more than sitting. That is almost 1,000 calories each week just be standing at your desk each afternoon.
Using a Standing Desk May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
The more your blood sugar levels increase after meals, the worse it is for your health.
A small study of ten office workers, who stood for 180 minutes after lunch reduced the blood sugar spike by 43% compared to sitting for the same amount of time.
Both groups took the same number of steps, so the only difference was that one group was standing.
Another study of twenty-three office workers had them sit for 30 minutes then stand for 30 minutes throughout the day. The results found blood sugar spikes reduced by an average of 11.1%.
These studies how that using a standing desk at work can lower blood sugar levels, especially after lunch.
Standing May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
A study in 1953 compared heart related deaths of bus conductors who stand all day, with bus drivers who sit all day. The results found that the risk for bus conductors was half that experienced by bus drivers.
Further studies have revealed that extended periods of sedentary sitting can increase the risk of heart disease by up to 147%.
Even an hour of intense exercise may not make up for the negative effects of sitting all day.
The conclusion from these studies is that spending more time standing is beneficial for heart health.
Standing Desks Reduce Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common complaints of office workers who sit all day.
Participants in many tests have reported up to a 32% improvement in lower back pain after several weeks of using standing desks.
When the standing desks were removed, the improvements were reversed in as little as two weeks.
Several studies have shown that standing desks can decrease chronic back pain caused by prolonged sitting.
Standing Desks Improve Mood and Energy Levels
Standing desks appear to have a positive influence on overall well-being.
In a 7-week long study, participants using standing desks reported less stress and fatigue than those sitting at standard office desks. Eighty-seven percent of those using standing desks reported increased vigor and energy throughout the day.
But when they returned to their old desks, their moods reverted to their original levels.
Broader research on sitting and mental health has linked an increased risk of depression and anxiety with sedentary time.
The many periods of lockdown throughout the world due to the Covid pandemic has resulted in an increase of mental health issues. This is largely because of people being forced into a sedentary lifestyle stuck in their homes.
Standing Desks May Even Boost Productivity
One concern about standing desks is that it makes some tasks like typing more difficult. While it may take some time to adjust to standing at a desk, they do not appear to restrict the ability to conduct normal office tasks.
A study of sixty young office employees, using a standing desk for 4 hours each day resulted in no differences in the characters type per minute or any increase in typing errors.
If you are in a better mood an have mor energy, then it is highly likely that this will result in greater productivity.
Standing More May Help You Live Longer
Just like the earlier example of bus conductors and bus drivers, a review of eighteen studies found those who sit the most have a 49% higher risk of dying early than those who do not sit often.
All the evidence points to standing instead of sitting will lengthen your lifespan.