Sitting – who would have thought that an activity as simple as this can lead to an early death? Prolonged sitting is the most apparent symptom of a sedentary lifestyle, one of today’s leading causes of death. In fact, a recent World Health Organization study attributes 2 million deaths annually to physical inactivity. No wonder so many people are looking for ways to move a lot more. At work, where employees spend hours typing on a computer and where physical activity appears restricted, people have found a solution in standing desks.
What is a Standing Desk?
A standing desk provides individuals with an option to alternate between sitting and standing as they work throughout the day, breaking the cycle of inactivity, and allowing them to move and stretch their muscles.
But are standing desks here for good, or are they just a fad? Are the promised benefits real or mere marketing ploy? Here we’ve collected actual data and statements from experts and healthcare professionals as they weigh in on the benefits of standing desks.
Here are our top 5 reasons to use a small standing desk
There are different types of small standing desks, from small standing desks to full desks. Some are even designed to be adjustable for an easy switch from sitting to standing, and back. But what are the benefits? Let’s hear it from the professionals.
Reduced Pain and Discomfort
“Stand Up to Work: Assessing the Health Impacts of Adjustable Workstations” is a study that compared individuals working in traditional vs. adjustable workstations. One of the top findings is that 47% of individuals who used adjustable stations experienced reduced discomfort in the upper back, shoulder, and neck.
Better Blood Circulation
Dr. Elmer G. Pinzon, medical director at University Spine & Sports Specialists, points to blood circulation as one of the top benefits of standing. “Standing allows for improved circulation through the spine and the musculoskeletal system—the key components of core strength, posture, and balance.” With this much benefit, it is recommended to alternate between sitting and standing every 30 or 40 minutes, something that’s easy to do with a standing desk available.
Improved Regulation of Blood Sugar Levels
Dr. Robert Shmerling of Harvard Health Publishing mentioned what many advocates of standing desks love about them – there are studies that show that after a meal, blood sugar levels normalize faster when a person spends more time standing than when he remains seated. And with diabetes being one of the top diseases of this generation, standing at work may be one of the small habits that can help significantly address this health problem.
Increased Productivity and Alertness
According to Dr. Brandon Siegmund of Core Chiropractic, standing can offer some much-needed energy boost. In the same way that exercise can alleviate some tiredness, standing can keep you alert because the muscles work harder and thus keep you from feeling sleepy or sluggish. Dr. Siegmund recommends standing at work 70% of the time to get the maximum benefit.
Better Life Quality
While the use of standing desks is often associated with very specific benefits in health and wellness, a study participated in by office workers at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in the U.K. showed that the use of these desks can also have a positive effect on mental health. Not only were individuals more engaged at work but they were also reported to have “less job-related fatigue, less daily anxiety, and higher overall quality of life.” In high-stress work environments, this speaks a lot about how crucial it is to encourage employees and workers to break the cycle of long hours of sitting.
The simple habit of sitting for prolonged hours maybe this generation’s biggest cause of health risks, but the solution is as simple – stand. Stand for a few minutes, learn to alternate between sitting and standing, and increase standing gradually until it becomes a regular part of your daily work habits. A small standing desk can be the first step towards this positive lifestyle change.