A standing desk or stand-up desk is a type of desk that requires you to stand up while working. Standing desks are becoming increasingly common as the dangers of sitting all day become clearer. Sitting all day has been linked to a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, physical pain, and even death. This is why many people doing sedentary work are moving to standing desks. Here are the benefits of standing desks.
Lower blood sugar levels
Generally speaking, the higher your blood sugar spikes after a meal, the worse it is for your health. One study found that office workers who alternated between standing and sitting every 30 mins throughout the day reduced their blood sugar spikes by about 11% on average. Excessive sedentary time is also linked to 112% greater risk for type 2 diabetes.
Low risk of weight gain/obesity
You burn more calories standing than you do while seated. If you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain your current weight, consider spending some of your workday working from a standing desk.
Reduced back pain
Poor posture is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to back pain. A well-set up ergonomic standing desk that does not encourage hunching helps strengthen muscles around the lower back and leads to reduced back pain. Make sure your desk is height adjustable to be on the safe side.
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Improve mood and increase energy levels
A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety. Using a standing desk leads to higher energy levels and vigour throughout the day.
Boosts productivity and concentration
Standing while working can boost your productivity. One study found that people who switched from sitting all day to a standing desk reported improved engagement in their work with fewer musculoskeletal problems. Standing also boosts blood flow around your body and to your brain which increases brain function. People who use standing desks are more focused than those who work seated the entire time.
Lower risk of early death
Breaking up the day to include sitting and standing reduces the risk of early death.
Lower heart disease
Spending more time on your feet is better for your heart health. A sedentary lifestyle greatly increases the likelihood of heart disease, so much so that even an hour of exercise may not be enough to make up for the negative effects of sitting all day.
Cons of standing desks
It’s not all sunshine and roses, standing desks have some shortcomings and precautions you should keep in mind:
Leg pain: if you stand for too long throughout the day, there will be consequences. Moderation is key.
Blood circulation problems: standing too long can cause blood to collect in your veins leading to conditions like varicose veins. People who stand for over 6 hours are twice as likely to get surgery for varicose veins than those who spend less than 4 hours on their feet.
Not a substitute for exercise: a standing desk helps burn calories, but it is not a substitute for exercise.
Not appropriate for every job: certain tasks are difficult to do with a standing desk, like drawing or writing with pen and paper.
Remember, the key is not to move from spending all day sitting to spending all day standing. What you want is to move around. Interchange between the two every hour or so. Ease into it and listen to your body. You should also make sure your standing desk is ergonomically set up by a professional to avoid straining yourself and causing other problems.
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