I have a confession to make. It’s a pretty big one. Here it goes…
I’m writing this article from my very own standing desk right now.
I know, I know. You must think I’m one of those trend followers. The kind that just takes a leap of faith and throws money at the latest thing so I can keep up with the masses.
So, I must be biased, right?
Before I got a standing desk or as some people know them, a sit-stand desk. I did some extensive research into the health benefits and let me tell you; I was shocked by how deep down the rabbit hole I fell.
Did you know that according to the Australian Health Survey (2014–2015), only 55% of Australian adults meet the recommended level of physical activity?
That’s more than half of us that aren’t getting enough activity. So, why aren’t we getting in the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week?
Let’s think about it for a second.
When you consider that the average working adult has a full-time Monday to Friday 9-5 job and spends 70-80% of their workday sedentary, the picture becomes a little clearer. We spend more of our waking time at work than we do anywhere else.
Where is the time to exercise?
We’re all a little time poor. If you’re an office worker, who spends more waking hours at work than at home. You’re even more time poor. If you have kids to wrangle on top of all that? I don’t know how you even find time for yourself, let alone to exercise.
But let’s get back to the whole reason you came here in the first place.
Sit-stand desks, stand-up desks, adjustable standing desks, whatever you want to call them, I discovered that using a standing desk benefits your health in so many different ways.
Here are just 10 of them.
In Australia, lower back pain is the most frequently seen musculoskeletal condition in general practice. In 2001 more than 20% of Australians reported they had back pain.
The 2011 CDC ‘Take A Stand Project’ revealed that after a seven-week period, 50% of standing desk users reported their back pain has been reduced.
Even a one-hour standing break will relieve the stress on your spine caused by sitting all day.
Top Tip: If back pain relief is one of your motivators for wanting a sit-stand desk, choose a desk that can be electronically adjusted. Our Luft Electronic Height Adjustable Desk allows you to program your ideal sitting and standing desk height into the controller so you can switch between the two seamlessly.
Some participants from standing desk studies felt that standing assisted with their productivity and alertness too.
66% of participants believing they felt more productive when they completed work while using their standing desks.
One was convinced that they were able to work through their emails more efficiently and quickly than they did sitting down.
Another said, “I think you do associate sitting with relaxing whereas when I’m standing, I am more alert and far more productive.”
Standing pumps blood around your body and to your brain, thereby increasing your brain function. When we sit for a long time, everything seems to slow down, including our brains.
In fact, 71% of people who used standing desks said they felt more focused than when they were slouching in a chair at their desks or hunched over a laptop.
Hows that for “thinking on your feet?”
From time to time, everyone gets stressed out at work. Whether its because you have a looming deadline, pressure from your boss, a complicated project or difficult team that’s just not cooperating.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could reduce our stress-levels, even just a little bit?
Well, according to 33% of participants, standing up instead of hunching over your workstation and grinding your teeth actually does make you feel less stressed out. When you stand up, you have the opportunity to stretch those tired muscles and shake off a bit of that fatigue and frustration.
When you incorporate deep breathing, you will notice almost an immediate calming effect that lowers your stress levels and lets you return to the task at hand in a much calmer mind frame.
Evidence suggests that sedentary lifestyles are associated with poor health outcomes including:
Here’s how sitting affects your health: When you slouch in your chair, your calorie-burning slows to a third of the rate compared to walking. Your metabolism drops. As a result, your risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes grows.
Our body essentially goes to sleep when it is inactive for a long time, like while sitting. Your metabolism slows down, and all of this can contribute to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Couple that with unhealthy eating habits, drinking copious amounts of coffee and you have a recipe for poor health. So, stand up for the sake of your health.
Often the first change people notice when they start using a standing desk was that they had more energy. Standing gives you a little energy boost like coffee does, just without the crash.
87% of participants from the ‘Take A Stand Project’ said they had more energy when they frequently used their standing desks to complete tasks.
Just two years later, participants in an Australian study that took place in Sydney, called ‘Thinking on your Feet’, reported they felt they had more energy when standing rather than sitting. One participant said, “actually I still feel pretty energised when I get home”.
“Our study found that workers who increased their standing by up to 60 to 90 minutes were more active and felt more energised than workers who used traditional desks, while not comprising their work output,” lead researcher Dr Josephine Chau said.
Who would have thought something so simple as standing could make you feel more energised at work?
The working class’s highest barrier to motivation and physical activity is a lack of time, especially when we spend one-third of our waking hours at work.
Although, I do have a few ideas on How You Can Stay Active During Your Workday. Surprise, surprise, investing in a standing desk is just one of those ideas. Make sure you check out that article. I promise you’ll pick up a few handy tips that take little to no effort to accomplish.
Standing and moving around for short periods of time is the easiest way to get some more activity into your workday.
Try using your standing desk for 30-minute increments, building up to 1 hour. Make sure you listen to your body. If you feel any aches or pains, sit back down again.
The key is to ease into the transition and build up your resistance.
Under no circumstances is just using a standing desk at work a substitute for real exercise. Nothing will help you get more fit and healthy than regular exercise and a balanced diet.
But there is some good news. The simple act of standing instead of sitting may help you burn 20 to 50 more calories per hour. Although, that doesn’t seem like a lot. When you start using your standing desk for up to 4 hours a day, that number increases.
If you want to kick it up a notch, invest in a standing desk treadmill and really burn some calories.
If you need to adjust your attitude, simply adjust your altitude.
At the end of week 7 of the ‘Take A Stand Project’ 62% of participants that used a standing desk said they noticed they felt happier throughout the workday.
Standing while working will release endorphins, giving you a natural high. While you won’t get the same endorphin-rush as you would from running a marathon or from base-jumping, standing up does give you a small rush of “feel-good” endorphins.
Standing is not only great for improving your overall mood, but it’s also an easy way to break up your day.
The key take away? Simply spending as little as 60 minutes using a sit-stand or standing desk can result in happier employees.
Apart from getting your blood pumping and increasing circulation to the body and the brain, standing up also gets your creativity pumping.
All that increased blood flow means you’ll be able to ‘think on your feet’, get those synapsis firing and creative ideas flowing.
More workplaces are finding that ditching chairs leads to greater creativity during brainstorming sessions and team meetings.
If a simple change in your lifestyle led to massive benefits in your resourcefulness and ingenuity, why wouldn’t you make it?
Congratulations! You made it to the end of the article. By now you must feel so enlightened by all the health benefits of standing desks and may even be considering buying one for yourself.
Remember, a sit-stand or standing desk can’t combat a completely sedentary lifestyle. Only you can win the war for your health with regular exercise and a balanced diet.
Standing all day isn’t the cure to all your problems, but it is a positive step forward.