Sitting for extended periods of time is one of the worst habits you can have for your health. Research has repeatedly shown that prolonged sitting increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Breaking up your sitting into smaller chunks of less than half an hour can have tons of benefits for your health. However, sometimes sitting is unavoidable like when you’re on long flights or commuting to work. If you work at a desk, it’s easy to spend more than ten hours a day sitting at home and in the office. By switching to a standing desk, you can drastically reduce your number of seated hours.
- Standing Desks Lower Your Risk of Obesity. When you’re sitting at your desk, your body is essentially idling and burning the minimum amount of calories it needs for survival. However, when you’re standing, your body has to activate muscles in your legs and core which increases the number of calories you burn. Even if you only burn off a few extra hundred calories per day over the course of a year, it quickly adds up.
- Standing Desks Reduce Back Pain. Sitting with poor posture is an excellent way to put extra pressure on your spine. Your spine is like a tower of Lego blocks balanced on top of each other. When you slump your head forward or tip the tower of blocks, the tower is likely to break somewhere close to the bottom, at your lumbar vertebra. A study published by Pronk et al. found that by reducing sitting time by 224% per day, they were able to reduce the incidence of back and neck pain by 54%
- Standing Desks May Increase lifespan. By switching to a standing desk, you may actually add years to your life. A study published in 2009 by Katzmarzyk et al. examined 17,000 adults for an average of twelve years and found a correlation between the amount of time sitting and risk of mortality from natural death.
- Standing Desks Improve Insulin Sensitivity. When you sit for an extended period of time without breaks, your body becomes more resistant to insulin. A study by David Dunstan and his colleges found that participants who sat for five hours without a break had plasma insulin levels 20% higher than in participants who broke up sitting. Even after an hour or two of continuous sitting, there were noticeable differences in the insulin levels between the group who took breaks and the group who didn’t. A standing desk helps break up your sitting throughout the day even if you chose to sit at times.
- Standing Desks May Increase Productivity. One of the main concerns with standing desks is that they may hurt productivity in the workplace. However, one study published in 2009 by Husemann et al. found that there was no increase in spelling mistakes or word processing speed when workers switched to a standing desk. There may even be potential for improvements in productivity because standing increases mental alertness. More research needs to be done to be conclusive.
Investing in a standing desk is an investment in your health. By sitting less you will not only lower your risk of heart disease, but you may also improve your body composition. When choosing a desk, finding a model that gives you the option to sit for part of the day so that you can transition into full time standing.