The rise of the standing desk revolution is no surprise to long-time office workers. More and more studies are proving that sitting too often is a serious long-term health risk.
People who excessively sit a majority of their days are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and early death. That is on top of the fact that studies have linked sitting to obesity and weight gain.
What are Standing Desks?
In case you’re new to the world of standing desks, these are desks that allow you to comfortably stand while working on a computer in the office.
With the rise of the standing, or stand-up desks, advancements in the technology have these desks being adjustable to alternate between standing and sitting throughout your day. These types of standing desks are sometimes known as sit-stand desks or height-adjustable desks.
Given the nature of standing desks being a new revelation in the workplace, research is still in the early stages. That being said, the early reports are that these desks do lead to big health benefits, increased productivity and remove some of the negative effects of excessive sitting.
Let’s take a look at 5 of the health benefits that can be had by using a standing desk in your everyday life.
1. Reduction of Back Pain
Back pain is easily one of the most common issues for office workers who sit in a cubicle all day long.
Several studies have been performed on employees with long-term back pain to examine the impact of switching to a standing desk. Of the participants in the study, 32% reported an improvement in lower back pain after using a standing desk for a few weeks.
A similar study by the CDC revealed that using a height-adjustable desk reduced neck and upper back pain by 54% after just one month. When the participants went back to a traditional sitting desk, some of those improvements reversed in just 2 weeks.
2. Lower Risk of Weight Gain or Obesity
James Levine of the Mayo Clinic, a leading research on the benefits of standing desks, recently conducted a study with a group of regular office workers. He had the workers all add 1000 calories to their normal daily intake and not change anything with their lifestyle habits. Some of the group gained weight while others did not. Further study revealed the group that did not gain weight sat far less than the group that did.
For optimal health benefits, Levine did point out that standing desks were just a start and that actually walking around more is helpful. But by starting with a standing desk, you immediately are burning 50 more calories per hour than sitting.
3. May Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
The more your blood sugar levels increase after meals, the worse it is for your general health. This is especially accurate for those with type 2 diabetes. In a study of 10 office workers, it was found that standing for 180 minutes directly after lunch reduced blood sugar spikes by 43% when compared to sitting for that same amount of time. Both groups took the same amount of steps, meaning the smaller spike was caused as a result of the standing instead of any excess movement.
Another similar study with 23 office employees found that alternating between standing at sitting every half hour during a workday reduced blood sugar spikes by an average of 11%.
4. May Lower Risk of Heart Disease
The notion that standing was a heart healthy activity was first brought up in 1953. A study was conducted that found that bus conductors who were standing all day had half the risk of heart disease related deaths than their fellow coworkers who sat all day in the driver seats.
Now days scientists have a much deeper understanding around the effects of sitting on your heart. Prolonged sitting is now believed to increase the risk of heard disease by a whopping 147%. It’s been found to be so harmful that even an hour or exercise a day may not make up the effects of spending an entire day sitting.
5. Improve Overall Mood and Energy
Early studies are suggesting that standing desks have more than positive physical health benefits, they seem to also have positive mental influences as well. After a recent 7 week study, participants with standing desks were recorded as having less stress and fatigue as opposed to their colleges who were sitting the whole day. Of that group, 87% of the standing desk users reported a noticeable increase in energy and vigor. Upon returning to sitting desks, their mood and energy levels reverted back to their original sitting desk levels.
The findings from this study align with additional research on the effects of sitting and mental health that linked stationary time to an increase in both anxiety and depression.
Make Your Stand
Listed here are just a few of the many benefits of using a standing or height-adjustable desk. With more and more jobs becoming computer based, take a stand for your health and make an important lifestyle change today. It’s recommended that if you do start joining the standing desk revolution, you split your time 50/50 between sitting and standing at first.
Standing desks can be found wherever most office-furniture stores are sold, as well as online at most office specific retailers.