Standing Desks and their Benefits
Updated: Apr 24
Humans were designed to stand and move. Our bodies weren’t made to sit for significant portions of time. But that is exactly what the majority of people in industrialized countries do for most of their day. Especially working in an office. And unfortunately, all of this sitting is taking a toll -- studies have confirmed a connection between sitting all day and a significant negative impact on your health, both mentally and physically.
Since we weren’t designed to be in a sitting position for so long, when we force ourselves to spend so much of our time sitting, it impacts both our mechanical and internal systems. Back pain, neck pain, hip pain, pinched nerves are very common complaints from people working in offices. Misalignment puts stress on the joints and overworks certain muscles. Unnatural sitting positions impact the spine and neck. And it doesn’t stop there. Sitting also increases the risk for weight gain, heart disease, and stroke.
But we aren’t destined for these problems just because we work at a desk most of the day. In fact, no one should needlessly suffer health issues just because they work in an office. And they don’t have to. Standing desks were created to eliminate these exact problems. They lead to happier, healthier workers for several reasons.
Prevent Aches and Pains
Lower-back pain is reported to be the top job-related disability. And there is no question why – sitting in ill-fitting chairs all day puts your spine in an unhealthy position. Your lower back starts to take on the weight, which it wasn’t designed for, your shoulders slump, causing your neck to extend forward so you can see your computer screen. This all puts more strain on the lower back, which is trying to hold everything together. t finally says—enough. You start to feel the strain in your neck from your head tilting or protruding forward, plus your hip flexors and hamstrings tighten up over time, impacting your back further.
A standing desk keeps your spine in a healthy, neutral position. It takes the strain off of your lower back, neck and shoulders. The spine is designed to be in an “S” position, which will happen naturally when standing. Sitting forces, it into a “C” position, which is why so many pains are created and get worse. Standing has been shown to significantly improved posture which also keeps your back, shoulders, and neck happy. And standing desks prevent your hip flexors from being constantly contracted and tight, which is another way they make it easier for your back to stay in a healthy position.
Better Long-Term Health
You may have heard something like “sitting is the new smoking.” This is because many studies have concluded that sitting all day contributes to the risk of several serious health concerns. Sitting requires less energy than standing or moving, so it leads to obesity and what is called “metabolic syndrome” – a group of conditions such as increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol, and increased blood sugar levels. These can cause heart disease, diabetes, and several other dangerous health problems.
A sedentary lifestyle means not only are you burning fewer calories but, it suppresses several of your key systems that need firing up for optimal health. Standing at a desk rather than sitting has been found to burn up to 30% more calories than sitting. While this might only translate to a couple hundred a day, that could add up to 2,000 or more calories a month.
What many people may not know is that standing also activates the cellular and muscular systems that impact blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol. These systems keep your insulin, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in check. The more you stand or move around, the better they are working for you.
Benefits for the Mood and Mind
Feeling good physically does make you feel good mentally too. But science has found that is not the only reason standing desks improve your mental state. Not only will you reap the physical rewards of using a standing desk at work, but many studies have concluded that people are happier, more alert, and more productive when they use one. And it makes sense. When you are standing, more fresh oxygen and blood get pumping to the brain. The whole body is humming along with more energy that when sitting. This can increase those feel-good chemicals in your brain for a better mood, as well as make the mind sharper and more alert. This is why increased circulation from standing is reported to lead to improved concentration and better productivity.
Our bodies may not be designed for a lifetime of sitting, but you can do something about it while keeping your job. Integrating a standing desk into your work life is a good way to reduce all the factors that make sitting for long stretches of time so dangerous to our health. Improving overall health, reducing back and neck pain, better mood, and increased productivity are all benefits you can have from using a standing desk.
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