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If you’re still unsure on whether you should get a standing workstation or it’s just another fad that will pass, this guide is for you.
If your work involves sitting for long hours, you should use a standing desk. Multiple studies have pointed out that excessive sitting leads to an increased risk of serious health issues like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, and early death.
The sit-stand workstation is an effective weapon against too much sitting. It puts you on course to leading an active office lifestyle—protecting your body from the above health issues.
In this guide, you’ll discover more in-depth info on why you should use a sit-stand desk, its top benefits, and potential side effects.
How do you benefit from using standing desks?
Standing desks have been around for quite a long time—history figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Jefferson used them.
However, they have become more popular in recent years. This is probably due to the many studies every day showing how dangerous prolonged sitting can be for folks with a desk job.
To answer your question on how you may want to get that sit-stand desk, we’ll discuss the main benefits you’ll get when you start using this desk.
Reduces the risk of obesity
One of the potential health risks of excessive sitting hours is weight gain. Weight gain is basically caused by adding more calories to your body than you’re burning.
Since sitting doesn’t burn any calories, it’s easy to see why prolonged sitting leads to obesity.
On the other hand, a standing desk will help you burn calories. It might not burn them at a high rate as walking and running, but it still burns a significant amount of them. This, in our opinion, is better than nothing.
Studies comparing calories burned in standing versus sitting show that more calories get burned when you’re on your feet. When you stand at your desk, you burn approx. 50 calories an hour.
If you were to stand for about 3 hours every workday, you’d burn as much as 750 calories weekly. This would translate to about 30,000 calories in a year (or roughly 8lbs of weight loss).
If we translate these calories into activity, they would be equal to running 10 marathons in one year.
It minimizes the risk of heart diseases
Too much sitting and cardiovascular diseases go hand in hand. Studies had been carried out on the relationship between sitting and cardiovascular diseases long before the introduction of the modern computer standing desk.
One such study was carried out in 1953 and involved London bus drivers who sit for long hours and the bus conductors who stand. The findings suggested that bus drivers were at a higher risk of heart attacks and other heart-related diseases than the conductors.
Over the years, scientists have developed a better understanding of how sitting affects heart health. Recent studies even suggest that sedentary behaviors increase your risk of heart disease by a whopping 147%!
With this in mind, using a standing desk that forces you to spend more time on your feet will definitely reduce your risk of getting heart disease.
The sit-stand desks help fight type 2 diabetes
Another danger of sitting for prolonged periods of time is reduced body’s ineffectiveness to regulate glucose levels in your bloodstream. This is part of a condition known as metabolic syndrome, which greatly increases the possibility of type 2 diabetes.
This study conducted in 2008 shows that people who sit for extended periods of time have significantly higher fasting glucose levels in their blood. This indicates that their cells become less responsive to insulin, with the hormone failing to trigger glucose absorption from blood.
Another 2013 study involving 10 office workers found that standing for 180 minutes after lunch reduces their blood sugar levels by up to 43% compared to those who sat for the same amount of time.
All the participants in this study wore pedometers that were analyzed. And they indicated no significant changes in the physical movement for the two groups of people—meaning standing vs sitting had major effects on the blood sugar levels.
It saves you from back and neck pains
Folks who sit all day complain about back pain and/or neck pain. Extended sitting hours put a lot of stress on your spine and may sometimes lead to disc damage.
Staring at the monitor for extended periods of time also forces you into a bad posture that involves arching your back in an unnatural position. And if you haven’t set your monitor at the correct ergonomic position, you’ll be forced to tilt your head down to view it, resulting in neck strain.
The Take-a-Stand Project is one of the studies conducted on the correlation between back pain and standing desks. It involved studying individuals who sat, stood, or walked over the course of a week, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks.
With time, this group of people claimed to experience reduced lower back pain, less shoulder tension, better posture, and improved overall moods.
Therefore, if you’re always dealing with back and/or neck pains and you sit for extended hours, it’s time to get a standing desk to save you from this pain.
Standing workstation boosts your mood and energy
You’ll also experience improved energy levels and better moods when incorporating a standing desk in your workspace.
This isn’t just another wild claim! Studies have been carried out to back it. One such study was 7-week long and involved participants working at a standing desk. They all reported reduced fatigue and stress compared to those who remained in their seats the entire workday.
What’s more, 87% of those on their feet reported increased energy and better moods throughout the day. And upon returning to their old desks, their overall moods fell back to original levels.
Say yes to more productive days!
And yes, getting a standing workstation will also increase your productivity at work. This is directly correlated with the boost in energy and mood, as discussed above.
This energy burst and the reduction of neck, shoulders, and back pain result in increased productivity and higher mental alertness.
When your body is in better shape and you’ve got no feeling of discomfort or pain, you’ll function more efficiently. And this will lead to a boost in productivity at work.
Additional benefits you get from a good quality standing desk include improved posture, better blood circulation, and increased life expectancy.
Are there any side effects to using a sit-stand desk?
Despite the many benefits of a sit-stand desk, it’s also worth noting that this office furniture has its share of problems.
For instance, using it for the first time may be a challenge. This is especially true if your body has been used to sitting for quite a long time. You’ll, therefore, need to ease into it to give your body time to get used to it.
Some of the most common problems of stand-up desks are listed below:
You may get leg and feet ache
If you stand for too long, you’ll put a lot of pressure on your feet, knees, and hips, leading to pain. Trying to lift one leg to ease the pressure isn’t advisable. It will put you off balance, leading to poor posture.
The risk of varicose veins
Standing for too long can also cause blood to collect in your feet. This will cause the veins around your feet and legs to expand to accommodate the extra blood, making them weaker and increasing the risk of varicose veins.
If you stand for 6 plus hours daily, you’re 2-3x more likely to undergo varicose veins surgery than someone who walks or stands less than 4 hours daily.
Standing desks may not work for every task
While you can do most tasks on your feet, e.g., answering a phone or typing on your computer, you may need to take a seat for some tasks.
For instance, if your occupation involves tasks such as writing and drawing, doing it in a sitting position may prove better for you than standing.
Standing desks are not a fitness equipment
Contrary to what many office workers think, standing desks should never be used as a replacement for exercise.
We said that standing desks will help you burn more calories than sitting. But walking is even better and doubles the calories burned.
Studies also show that treadmill desk users record much better cholesterol and blood sugar levels than standing workstation users.
NOTE: As you can easily see, most of these problems with standing desks result from using the workstation incorrectly. Most people don’t know that these desks aren’t made for all-day standing. You should regularly switch between sitting and standing positions to enjoy all their benefits while preventing the above problems.
Final Word – Why Use A Standing Desk?
If you lead a sedentary life, you have every reason to use a stand-up desk today to save you from the dangers of excessive sitting.
A standing workstation forces you to get your butt off that office chair and stay on your feet while working. As discussed in this guide, standing has multiple health benefits, making it a great weapon for countering those health problems caused by excessive sitting.
A sit-stand desk may not be 100% perfect and may bring issues like feet and leg muscles aching and varicose veins. They’re also not a replacement for exercises.
Overall, using your standing correctly will help you avoid most of these problems in the first place and reap all the above physical and mental health benefits of standing while working.