Chances are the whole reason you’re here is because you’re curious about the whole Standing Desk trend that’s ‘all the rage’ right now.
Some people say, “Sitting is the new smoking” in terms of how bad it is for our overall health.
Our society is becoming so health conscience that it’s hard to discern what is just a passing fad from what is really good for us.
Let’s start with what we do know.
Bottomless stores of research confirm that a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to our long-term health.
The Australian Health Survey 2014–2015 revealed that only 55% of Australian adults aged 18–64 years meet the level of physical activity recommended by current guidelines (150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week).
Nearly 29.7% people are insufficiently active
And 14.8% are completely inactive.
Working adults spend around 70-80% of their working time sedentary, so it’s no surprise that many people have invested in a sit stand desk or standing desk, and found that it actually does make a difference.
1. Standing Relieves Back Pain
In Australia, lower back pain is the most frequently seen musculoskeletal condition in general practice and in 2001 more than 20% of Australians reported they had back pain. It’s no surprise that the working population is riddled with back problems as a result from slouching at our desks.
Using a standing or sit stand desk enables you to straighten your posture, speed up your metabolism and burn some extra calories. Being able to stretch and walk around can also help ease back pain.
2. Standing Increases your Productivity, Concentration & Energy Levels
Participants in a sit stand desk study said that they had more energy and felt more productive standing rather than sitting. One participant admitted “actually I still feel pretty energised when I get home”.
Some participants felt that standing assisted with their productivity and alertness. 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 where as when I’m standing I am definitely more alert and far more productive.”
3. Standing Incorporates More Activity into your Workday
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.
Standing and moving around for short periods of time is an easy way get some more activity into your workday. It’s recommended that you try using your standing desk for 30 minute increments, building up to 1 hour. Listen to your body, though. If you feel any aches or pains, sit back down again.
The key is to ease into the transition and build up your resistance.
4. Standing Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases
Evidence suggests that sedentary lifestyles are associated with poor health outcomes including obesity, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and ultimately death as a result of cardiovascular diseases.
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. Couple that with unhealthy eating habits, drinking copious amounts of coffee and you have a recipe for disaster. So, stand up for the sake of your health.
5. Standing Improves Job Satisfaction
As the body of research on the negative effects of sitting grows, new research from Australia has found that spending as little as 60 minutes using a sit stand or standing desk during the work day can result in happier employees, rather than unproductive ones.
“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.
6. Standing Gets Your Heart Rate Up & Burns Calories
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, a study in the UK found an increase in the heart rate of those who worked whilst standing than those who sat. There was even an increase in calorie expenditure.
Remember, a sit stand or standing desk can combat a completely sedentary lifestyle, but 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.
Y Chau, J, Daley, M, Srinivasan, A, Dunn, S, Bauman, A & van der Ploeg, H. P (2014). ‘Desk-based workers’ perspectives on using sit-stand workstations: a qualitative analysis of the Stand@Work study’. BMC Public Health. BioMed Central Ltd. Published 25 July 2014. Retrieved from <https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-752>
Grunseit. A. C, Yuk-Yin Chau, J, van der Ploeg, H. P & Bauman, A (2013) ‘“Thinking on your feet”: A qualitative evaluation of sit-stand desks in an Australian workplace’. BMC Public Health. BioMed Central Ltd. Published 18 April 2013. Retrieved from <https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-365>
Munir, F, Houdmont, J, Clemes, S, Wilson, K, Kerr, R & Addley, K (2015) ‘Work engagement and its association with occupational sitting time: results from the Stormont study’. BMC Public Health. BioMed Central Ltd. Published 29 January 2015. Retrieved from <https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1427-9>
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014-15) ‘National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15’. Key findings. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved from <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0.55.001>
Y.Chaua J, Sukalab, W, Fedela, K, Doc, A, Engelena, L, Kinghamd, M, Sainsburye, A, E.Baumana, A (2015) ‘More standing and just as productive: Effects of a sit-stand desk intervention on call center workers’ sitting, standing, and productivity at work in the Opt to Stand pilot study’. Preventative Medicine Reports Vol 3. Pp 68-74. Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Published 12 December 2015. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.12.003
Just Stand (2013) ‘Health Benefits Associated with Standing’. ‘Sitting So Much Should Scare You Infographic’. Ergotron. Published 2013. Retrieved from < http://www.juststand.org/tabid/929/language/en-US/default.aspx>