Are standing desks good for you?

Are standing desks good for you?

As millions of office workers sit crouched over their keyboards daily, more and more are asking: are standing desks good for you?

Standing desks can be adjusted either manually or electrically to allow staff to alternate between standing and sitting as they work. And the health benefits of this new way of working are now becoming increasingly recognised.

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time is known to have a negative impact on health conditions, ranging from back pain to heart conditions. And it means office workers, call centre employees and anyone else who has a sedentary job, can be particularly badly affected.

But just by moving for a few minutes every hour can make a significant difference to your health and wellbeing.

Studies by John Buckley, a professor in Applied Exercise Science in Health, found workers are spending double the time sitting compared to those in the 1950s. And that inactivity can lead to health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

Sitting down for long periods of time goes against our inherent physiology as hunter gatherers and also negates one of the major positive influences on our bodies…gravity.

Gravity is working away silently on our bodies all the time so standing up and defying gravity improves muscle mass and bone density. Standing up allows gravity to do its work on our bodies whereas sitting down is not far from bed rest.

So just moving and standing as frequently as possible will help you to stay healthy.

One of the most common complaints from workers who sit at their desks all day is back pain. In fact, statistics show as many as 80 per cent of employees suffering from pain at some point in their lives. However, by breaking up that sedentary cycle by standing while you work can reduce the risk of back pain.

Even as little as an hour a day of extra standing can improve both muscle tone and posture. More muscles are used to stand for an hour compared to sitting so standing intermittently during the working day can strengthen core, leg and foot muscles as well as relieving pressure on the lower back and shoulders.

There are other health benefits associated to using standing desks. Standing can raise metabolism so standing up can burn off more calories than sitting down. And the more you sit, the less you move, increasing the risk of heart disease. When we sit for long periods of time, the blood flow slows down which allows fatty acids to build up which can ultimately lead to heart disease or a stroke.

Blood sugar levels also increase after meals which is worse for your health. However, standing up after lunch is a simple but effective way of reducing that blood sugar spike.

Workers’ moods have also been said to improve with the combination of standing and sitting. In essence, moving is good and standing is an easy step to better health.

Just a couple of minutes standing instead of sitting every hour can make a difference and the more you stand, the healthier you will be.


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