Standing desks have been in existence for several years now, but these have been gaining popularity these days as more and more people understand the long list of health benefits these have to offer for our bodies. We know that people who spend most of their time sitting stand more at risk of developing some heart disease, diabetes, and have a shorter life expectancy.
The above symptoms when combined together are referred to as the ‘sitting disease.’ And one of the worse things about sitting is that these are not countered by exercise or diet. Sit-stand desks aka standing desks are all the rage in 2021 and rightly so, since, they can realign your posture so easily. Besides, these desks have a myriad of benefits to offer. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the benefits of standing desk and also, answer if these desks impose any risk to our health or not.
What Is A Standing Desk?
A standing desk or a stand-up desk is a type of desk that requires you to stand up while working. Such desks are mostly adjustable so that you can easily change the height of these desks. Also, you can alternate between sitting and standing with these desks since only standing or only sitting throughout the day could be uncomfortable.
To be a bit more specific, the height-adjustable standing desks are known as sit-stand desks. It hasn’t been yet confirmed and the researches are ongoing, but using a standing desk has shown tremendous improvements in a person’s overall health. Moreover, this desk can also somewhat eliminate the harmful effects of sitting in a chair and help with productivity too.
10 Benefits of Using A Standing Desk
1. Low Risk Of Weight Gain/Obesity
Exercise is surely the best way to burn calories, but simply standing could also be quite helpful in this regard. A study suggests that you burn around 170 calories more when stay standing up compared to doing sedentary work for the same time duration.
This means that you will be burning about 1000 extra calories every week if you stay standing at your desk every afternoon. It is due to this difference that sitting longer is considered to be linked to obesity and other metabolic disorder.
2. Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
The more your blood sugar levels after meals, the worse it becomes for your health. This is quite true for all those with diabetes. A small study demonstrated that in the case of workers who stand up for 180 minutes after lunch reduces the blood sugar increase by 43% as compared to people who stay in a sitting posture for the same duration.
Even if you alternate between standing and sitting, still your blood sugar spike will be reduced by 11.1% on average. This clearly explains why staying sedentary for long durations can put you at risk if you have Type 2 Diabetes.
3. Lowers Risk Of Heart Disease
Studies have shown that spending long hours sitting upright leads to many negative and harmful effects. As per statistics, prolonged sedentary time can increase the risk of heart disease by up to 147%. Another study said that bus conductors who spend almost their entire day standing have half the risk of heart diseases as compared to the bus drivers sitting in the driver’s seat. Even one hour of intense exercise might not make up for all the harm caused by working for long hauls sitting in a chair. You can use a standing desk like jarvis to eliminate such problems.
4. Reduce Back Pain
Back pain is something that almost all office workers complain about. Several studies have shown that working with a standing desk can improve your backaches by almost 32%. Yet another study published by the CDC stated that using a sit-stand desk will reduce your back and neck pains by 54% within 4 weeks only. Also, when those standing desks were removed, these improvements were reversed within 2 weeks.
5. Improve Your Mood And Energy Levels
Standing desks can have a positive influence on your overall health. A 7-week study showed that participants who used standing desks suffer from less stress and fatigue as compared to those who work while sitting. A lot of people who prefer standing desks have reported having high vigor and energy levels throughout the workday. Moreover, once these people went back to their older desks, their moods went back to the original states. A lot of such findings point to linking sedentary time with a high risk of both depression and anxiety.
6. Boosts Productivity
A common problem about standing desks is that these can stop your daily work like typing. Using a standing desk for even one-half of the workday could be pretty productive, but, this might require a bit of getting used to. Standing desks usually don’t come in the way of doing work at your office. Moreover, since standing desks can improve your mood and energy too, so, standing desk turns to be more effective in boosting productivity.
7. Helps To Increase Longevity
Certain researches have suggested that increased sitting time has been linked to early death. This is not quite surprising because as stated earlier, type 2 diabetes has been linked with heart disease. A report states that people who spend most of their time sitting are 49% more at risk of dying early than those who don’t sit much.
Yet another study states that if you reduce your sitting time to just 3 hours every day, then that would increase the average person’s life expectancy by at least 2 years. Hence, if you want to lengthen your lifespan, then reduce your sitting time and try working while standing.
8. Builds A Better Posture
One of the chief advantages of getting a standing desk is that it helps you build a good body posture. Chairs are one of the worst furniture pieces for your spine and can ruin its natural curvature. People who slouch a lot due to sitting for long hours in a chair can end up getting back pain, neck pain, or even stress.
Standing desks offer an amazing option to stretch your body muscles and tissues. This saves you from back pains and realigns your posture.
9. Keeps Your Mind Healthy
Working from a standing desk promotes proper blood circulation in your entire body. This increases oxygen supply to your brain besides reducing blood sugar levels and keeping your mind energized and refreshed. Studies have shown that employees who work from a standing desk are much likely to have better health as compared to people who work while sitting.
A lot of people have reported feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after using standing desks at regular intervals. This keeps you happy and saves you from many health problems.
10. Good Alternative To Coffee
Periodic and regular standing sessions work as a better and more natural defense to pull you through the day as compared to caffeine. It is natural for humans to feel a bit sleepy during the afternoon at work. Most employees combat this sleepy feeling by drinking coffee. But, you are far less likely to feel sleepy while standing up. Hence, working from a standing desk can prevent pesky office naps and indirectly reduce your intake of coffee.
Cons Of Using Standing Desks
We have looked at several health benefits of using a standing desk, but, let’s be honest, nothing can ever be perfect. It’s the same with standing desks. Let’s take a look at the issues with these desks:
1. Leg Pain
This one goes without saying! It’s a given if you stand for too long or throughout the day, then you’ll be putting too much pressure on your knees, hips, and feet. This could hurt your feet and legs. Moreover, if you lift one of your feet to relax for a bit, you throw your posture off-balance.
2. Blood Circulation Problems
If you stand on your feet for long hours, then blood will collect in your veins. To cope with the extra blood, your veins may try to stretch and as a result, get weakened. This is one of the top reasons why people have varicose veins. People who stay standing for over 6 hours every day are twice or thrice more likely to get surgery for varicose veins than others who stay on their feet for less than 4 hours per day.
3. Standing Cannot Eliminate The Need For Exercise
Standing burns a far lesser number of calories as compared to sitting. Compared to that, walking burns over double that number of calories. Studies suggest that a person who uses the treadmill desk has had better improvements in blood sugar levels as compared to people using basic standing desks.
4. Standing Desks Are Not Appropriate For Every Desk Job
You might be able to type better with a standing desk or even answer the phone on your feet. However, other tasks such as drawing, writing with a pen and paper are quite tough to do while standing up. These are much more convenient to do when you sit down comfortably.
Hence, the best way to use a standing desk is not to stand for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. When you start using standing desks, do this and alter it with sitting sessions. Over time, you could add an hour or 2 to your standing sessions as per your comfort level.
It’s recommended that you don’t get too pushy with yourself in the beginning while working on a standing desk. Figure out what you’re comfortable with and then decide how many hours you can work from a standing desk by not hurting your legs.
Types of Standing Desk
Technological advancements have given us different types of standing desks but the basic idea is the same behind all of these: They allow you to work while standing. Here are the different types of standing desks:
- Fixed Height Standing Desk: Fixed height desks will stay fixed at the height where you stand.
- Sit-Stand Desk: The height of these desks can go up or down as per your adjustments. These are most appropriate because they allow you to alter between sitting and standing.
- Power Sit-Stand Desks: These go up in height as you push a button. The manual ones can be lifted or raised.
Note: The very basic models of fixed-height desks can cost no more than $100. On the other hand, a good quality electric height adjustable desk can cost over $1000. Moreover, there are treadmill desks as well that allow you to walk while you work. How creative is that! These cost over $1000 as well.
How long should you stand with a standing desk?
As per scientists, the ideal way to work with a standing desk is to apply a ratio of one: one or one: two. This means that for every one hour of standing you’ll spend one to two hours sitting. You should never even attempt to stay standing throughout the day because that will only hurt your feet and legs.
Are standing desks really better for you?
If you work a job where you spend most of your time sitting such as bank tellers, production line employees, etc., then these desks are surely better for you. These can help you ease your back and neck pain in addition to reducing blood sugar spikes and eliminating other health issues.
Is it bad to use a standing desk all day?
Using a stand-up desk all day will not be more beneficial to your health. Rather, it will only impose more health risks on you like leg pain, varicose veins, blood circulation issues, etc. You should use it at regular intervals of around 30 minutes to gain all the standing desk benefits we’ve mentioned in this article.
What are the benefits of standing desks?
Standing desk health benefits are quite widespread. From helping to relieve your back and neck pain to improving your body posture to reducing your blood sugar levels, it really does a lot. You can find several other benefits of standing desks if you read this article from the top.
Let’s Take A Stand
The above reasons prove that reducing sitting time can end up improving your physical, metabolic, and mental health as well. Hence, the need for improving your lifestyle by sitting less and standing more. Also, if you are planning on using a standing desk, then we would advise you to spend half of your work time sitting and the other half standing.