It has been said that sitting is the new smoking. While it may sound a bit dramatic, too much sitting can indeed wreak havoc on your health. People with sedentary lifestyles are at an increased risk of many different ailments, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even early death. If you have an office job, though, what can you do? When you have to spend 40-plus hours a week at your desk, how can you avoid being sedentary? Enter the standing desk.
What is a standing desk? It is exactly what it sounds like, a desk that lets you work while standing. There are many different kinds of standing desks, and many are adjustable, allowing you to alternate between sitting and standing. Because standing desks are fairly innovative, there is not enough research to prove the benefits, but early findings suggest that using a standing desk can increase productivity and improve health. Some of the benefits supported by science include:
Weight gain can be forestalled by standing to work. Taking in more calories than you burn causes weight gain, and burning calories can result in weight loss. While it doesn’t burn as many calories as exercise, standing burns more calories than sitting. Research shows that standing for an afternoon of work can burn 170 more calories than spending that time sitting. In a week, it adds up to almost 1,000 extra calories just by standing at the desk in the afternoons!
Standing can help with blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels after meals are bad for your health, especially if you have insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. There is evidence from some small scientific studies to indicate that standing after lunch or alternating between standing and sitting can reduce blood sugar spikes.
Your heart health can be improved when you use a standing desk. Since 1953, there has been evidence that standing can reduce the risk of heart disease. A study done at that time found that bus drivers, sitting in the driver’s seat, had twice the risk of death from heart disease as bus conductors, who stood all day. Since then, science has underscored the negative impact of prolonged sedentary time. It has been shown that even an hour of intense workouts can’t make up for a day spent sitting.
Standing can reduce back pain. Office workers often complain of aching backs at the end of the day. However, participants in studies that involved standing desks reported an improvement in long-standing back pain after several weeks of standing to work. One study found that upper back and neck pain was reduced by 54 percent after just four weeks of using a sit-stand desk. When the desks were removed, some of the pain returned.
When you stand more than you sit, your energy and mood may improve. Research on standing desks shows that users report less stress and fatigue, and increased vigor and energy. This lines up with broader research which links depression and anxiety to sedentary time.
You may be more productive at a standing desk. It can take some time to get used to a standing desk, but working at a standing desk does not appear to negatively affect the speed or accuracy of typing. Since standing improves mood and energy, it is likely to boost productivity.
Using a standing desk may help you live longer. Research shows a clear link between too much sitting and early death. Since a sedentary lifestyle is linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, a shortened lifespan is not surprising. People who sit the most have a 49 percent higher risk of dying early than those who sit the least. One study estimated that sitting three fewer hours a day, the average American could raise his or her life expectancy by two years.
Using a standing desk is a step towards a healthier lifestyle, and so is joining the right fitness club. At the Wellbridge Athletic Clubs, we’re all about helping you reach your goals and live your best life. This is why we offer world-class training that keeps up to date with the latest in health and wellness. At our clubs, you’ll be greeted by our friendly team before you’re challenged and motivated by top-notch instructors in our fitness classes. You’ll make new friends because you belong here. Join us today or contact us to learn more.