Sitting too much is bad for your health. Studies show that people who lead a sedentary lifestyle or sit for long periods at work are more susceptible to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and a shorter life expectancy. This combination of symptoms is often called “sitting disease”.
The long-term effects of sitting often are not simply countered by exercise or diet! Numerous studies have shown that switching between sitting, walking, and standing in the workplace is vital to your health. Some evidence also suggests that staying active during the workday can improve your mood and mind. Therefore, a standing desk plays an important role in our life.
What is a standing desk?
A standing desk, also known as a standing desk or a height-adjustable desk, is basically a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working. Many modern versions are adjustable, so that you can change the height of the desk and alternate between sitting and standing. Using this type of equipment at work can have innumerable benefits:
7 benefits of a standing desk
1. Boost productivity and workplace communication
In 2018, the Stand Up to Work study found that adjustable desks improved productivity, job satisfaction, and workplace communication. Over the course of one year:
- Participants who used standing desks said they were more active, refreshed, awake, limber and energetic.
- An estimated 61% of participants reported that the standing desk positively improved their health outside the workplace, not just inside the cubicle.
And while mostly anecdotal, the study also found that adjustable workstations “may also have social and mental health benefits concerning job satisfaction, coworker communication, and work efficiency.”
2. Lower Risk of Heart Disease
An increase in sitting time raises your chances of developing cardiovascular problems like blood clots, heart disorders, blood vessels being narrowed by fat accumulation, rising cholesterol levels, strokes, etc. All are due in part to the slower flow of the blood in the body and slower or reduced fat burning by the muscles. In fact, these long hours are believed to increase your risk for heart disease significantly.
3. Reduce back pain
Back pain is one of the most common complaints of office workers who sit most of the day. Due to constant pressure on the spine, decreased muscular activity, poor posture, office workers often experience neck pain, lower back pain, shoulders dysfunctions and knee problems, say Dr. Hepler, a spine surgeon in Palm Beach County.
Standing desk is an alternative solution that a lot of companies implement now. In the year-long Stand Up To Work study, 47% of participants with height-adjustable desks reported a significant reduction in upper back, shoulder or neck discomfort. However, if you are unable to get a standing desk at work, try to make frequent short breaks from sitting, stretch your back, or do a little walking.
4. Reduce Risk of Weight Gain
Being sedentary and working at a desk is linked to weight gain, obesity, and metabolic disease. The National Library of Medicine reported on a 2014 study wherein office workers intermittently stood to work, resulting in reduced fatigue and musculoskeletal pain and discomfort in overweight and obese workers. The fatigue score was markedly higher during the seated phases of the study.
5. Improve your mood and energy levels
Too much sitting and a sedentary lifestyle has also been shown to increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Standing desks appear to have a positive influence on overall well-being.
In a 7-week study, participants using standing desks reported less stress and fatigue than those who remained seated the entire work day. Additionally, 87% of those using standing desks reported increased and energy throughout the day. These findings align with broader research on sitting and mental health, which links sedentary time with an increased risk of both depression and anxiety.
6. Lower blood sugar levels
Excessive sedentary time is also linked to a 112% greater risk of type 2 diabetes. Generally speaking, the more your blood sugar levels increase after meals, the worse it is for your health.
A UK-based study of 10 office workers found that standing for 3 hours (180 minutes) after lunch reduced the blood-sugar spike by 43% when compared to sitting for the same amount of time. Both groups took the same amount of steps, indicating that the smaller spike was due to standing rather than additional physical movements around the office.
Another study involving 23 office workers found that alternating between standing and sitting every 30 minutes throughout the workday reduced blood sugar spikes by 11.1% on average.
7. Increase Life Expectancy
Studies suggest that reducing your sedentary time will increase your life expectancy. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. By reducing your sitting time, you ultimately are lowering your risk for these health issues and increasing your lifespan.
Another study from the American Cancer Society states, “Women and men who both sat more and were less physical were 94% and 48% more likely, respectively, to die compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active.”