Standing or sitting, which is the better option for your health while you are working? We can often spend 65% to 75% of our workday sitting, and having a sedentary lifestyle is certainly not good for our health. Can standing desks be the solution for better health?
Standing desks have been around for centuries, Leonardo Da Vinci was one of a few historical figures who used them. Now companies like Facebook and Google use them in their office spaces claiming they boost energy and productivity. In September 2015, the White House officially requested up to $700,000 worth of standing desks as they improve health and productivity.
Gina Trapani wrote about her year of using a standing desk
My back feels great. My posture is better than ever. My default work position is standing on flat feet, with my shoulders back, and my back slightly arched. I have a makeshift foot rest (a box of unsold books), and I often shift from one foot to another when my knees feel stiff. I lost 3-5 pounds in the first couple of weeks from standing alone. I'm way more active throughout the day, pacing, dancing, fidgeting. Because I'm used to standing all day at work, standing in line anywhere for long periods of time on weekends doesn't bother me in the least.
The American Cancer Society has established a link between sitting and obesity; it found that people who stand for at least a quarter of the day reduce their chances of becoming obese and the benefits are greater for women than men. When you slump in your chair, your calorie-burning slows to a third of the rate that it is when you are walking. Your metabolism drops and, as a result, you increase your risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes. One study estimated that reducing sitting time to 3 hours per day would raise the average American’s life expectancy by 2 years
Some studies also showed that people who used standing desks reported less stress and fatigue than those who remained seated the entire work day and 87% of those using standing desks also reported increased energy throughout the day.
Standing desks are a start to lessen our sedentary lifestyle as it means we are more likely to move, whereas sitting encourages us to continue to sit. Using a standing desk also improves your core muscles which in turn improves your overall posture.
You must bear in mind that, while standing desks are definitely beneficial you must ensure that you maintain the correct posture else you are just swapping one set of problems for another.
- desk height should be at or just below you elbow level
- screen should be at eye level and 20-28” away
- use a separate keyboard and mouse at elbow level
As with any position you are using for long periods, make sure you take breaks to move and adjust your body.