Since the industrial revolution and the invention of computers, many jobs have moved to a more sedentary method.
While there are still an array of fields and positions that require physical labor or being on your feet most of the day, many Americans find themselves seated at a desk for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
The Dangers of Sitting Too Much
Although finding a good balance between movement and rest is truly the key to keeping one’s body healthy, there’s no question that prolonged sitting isn’t good for you.
Unfortunately, our bodies weren’t made to be sedentary long term and a lack of movement can take its toll. After all, how many people sit at work all day only to go home and do the same thing while bingeing their favorite television shows?
Like it or not, as human beings, we need movement, activity, and most importantly, exercise.
Study after study has been published discussing the potential long-term effects a sedentary lifestyle can have on a person. Sitting in general leads to fewer calories burned, which can in turn lead to weight gain and obesity. Plus, those who sit for the majority of their day have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and early death.
Why a Standing Desk is The Solution
That being said, finding ways to get up out of the chair and take a short walk or break isn’t always feasible.
For some, their jobs may require them to pretty much stay at their desks minus lunch or the occasional 15-minute break.
Nonetheless, there are ways to combat the effects of your office job. Enter the standing desk.
Benefits of a Standing Desk
Whether you add on an addition to your existing desk, or replace yours with an adjustable top, a standing desk is one surefire way to get you on your feet and they have lots of benefits that may surprise you.
Here are seven surprising benefits of using a standing desk.
1. Productivity Stays Higher
Anyone who’s ever worked an 8-hour (or more) work day knows that keeping up your productivity levels is easier said than done.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time has a tendency to take a toll on our mental endurance. It’s easy to start the day motivated and begin checking things off your to-do list. However, after a few hours most of us have a tendency slow down and become distracted.
Sitting at your desk allows you to become less alert and too comfortable.
If you switch to a standing desk, the simple act of standing will keep you alert for longer. You’ll keep a clearer mind for your busy day and instead of being drained by sitting, you’ll find rejuvenation in your sitting breaks instead.
2. Prevention of Back Pain
As mentioned, sitting for long periods of time isn’t exactly a natural position for the human body. More often than not, the longer we sit the worst our postures get.
If you’ve never noticed it yourself, next time you’re sitting for a little while, take time to reevaluate your posture. You’ll likely find that even if you start sitting up straight, you’ll begin to slouch, slump down in your chair, or begin switching leg and body positions out of discomfort.
This is especially the case if you look at a computer all day, as you’ll no doubt find yourself in a hunched over position with shoulders tensed. After days, weeks, and likely years of poor posture, your body can’t help but begin to feel the effects.
The constant pressure on your spine, neck and shoulders can lead to other and sometimes serious medical issues. By utilizing a standing desk and bringing your computer up to your eye level, you ensure your back and posture stay straight and inline, preventing future back and neck problems.
3. You’ll Keep Energy Levels Up
Like posture and productivity, our energy throughout the day often wanes. Sometimes it can feel like no matter how much rest we get we inevitably hit a slump. For a lot of people that slump simply equates to piling on more caffeine throughout their day.
While a couple of cups of coffee during your day is perfectly fine, going overboard or resorting to energy drinks or sugar-filled sodas are bound to have adverse affects.
That said, trying to keep yourself energized without a nap in the middle of the day is easier said than done. Again, when you’re sitting in a cushy office chair, staring at a computer screen, it’s easy to get comfortable and zone out, a state that has a tendency to drain you.
By opting for a standing desk, you prevent yourself from hitting that midday slump. Standing keeps your entire body engaged and therefore keeps your mind engaged and energized as well.
4. Gym Time Won’t Be Counteracted
Depending on the journal or article you read, you’ll likely find varying advice on just how much exercise you should get on a weekly basis. Nonetheless, most experts agree that regular exercise is the key to a healthy body, mind, and life.
In some cases, studies suggest you try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. What you may not be aware of, however, is the fact that even if you do achieve 30 minutes of exercise a day, the sheer fact that you sit for 8 hours can counteract the benefits that exercise gave.
Unfortunately, we need physical activity beyond the gym to truly impact our lives. Opting for a standing desk can help increase your physical activity making your hard work at the gym worth it.
5. Increase in Metabolism
Thanks to increased automation, our jobs require less physical activity than they did years ago. Hence, more time sent sitting at a desk slows the rate at which we burn calories.
Incorporating movement throughout our days is necessary to put some of that physical activity back into our lives. While many companies are working to incorporate more active movement in their employees daily activities, it’s not feasible for everyone.
Depending on your job and daily duties, getting up every hour for a 10 to 15 minute walk or light stretching might not be easily done at your work place or, in some cases, appropriate for your place of business.
Instead of finding a way to go for a stroll in the middle of your afternoon, a standing desk can help engage your body, ultimately increasing your daily physical activity. This in turn, helps your body burn more calories than if you’d sat all day.
Although this still can’t compare to walking a mile and shouldn’t keep you from regular exercise, increasing the amount of calories you burn daily can still affect your overall health.
6. Improve Your Overall Health
You’ve no doubt noticed a pattern by now in all the ways a standing desk can benefit your body, which means it improves your overall health. From eliminating and preventing back, neck, and joint pain to increasing your daily physical activity, a standing desk can help prevent some of the more serious health issues a sedentary life can lead to.
By burning more calories, you’ll help reduce the risk of weight gain and obesity. Plus, since standing is better for your heart health overall, you’ll also reduce your risk of heart disease as well.
Lastly, with your increased productivity, vigor, and energy levels throughout your day, you’ll likely be in a better mood to accomplish your daily tasks and take on the day, improving your mental health.
7. You May Live Longer
Study after study has been published linking prolonged sitting with an early death. Like it or not, our more leisurely and passive lifestyles are having adverse effects on our health.
As mentioned, sitting increases your risk of an array of health issues, most prevalent being heart disease and even cancer. That being the case, even with the assistance of modern medicine, those with a desk job could find themselves in an early grave.
By incorporating a standing desk at your office and preventing some of those serious conditions, you’ll no doubt increase your overall lifespan as well.
There’s no question that our sedentary lifestyles are causing more problems than we’d like. That’s why the standing desk has become increasingly popular with each new scientific study that’s published condemning said effects of our desk jobs.
Even so, standing all day has its own precautions and can take its own toll on a person’s legs and joints.
At the end of the day, while the benefits of a standing desk have a tendency to outweigh a seat, the key to staying healthy is keeping a balance between the two positions. Stand some of the time to keep yourself from sitting for 6 to 8 hours a day. But also be sure to refresh yourself by taking a rest and sitting every now and then.
By being conscious of your habits and physical activity, you can set yourself on the right track to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the long-run.
Do you use a standing desk? How else do you incorporate physical activity into your work day?