Why Standing Desks Are Good For You

August 22, 2020

standing desk set up with laptop

What is a stand up desk?

A standing desk allows you to switch between sitting and standing, either with a manual winder or electronically. Many of these will be adjustable to ensure you can stand and sit comfortably while at your desk. They are also known as sit stand desks or height adjustable desks. 

Stand-up desks have been all the rage for what feels like an age. And for good reason! As it turns out, they’re more than just a fad or an internet-fueled craze that’ll inevitably come to an end. 

What are the benefits of a standing desk?

Standing desks have revolutionised the workplace allowing for improved overall health and productivity for desk workers. Long term sitting cannot be countered by exercise and studies have shown that by switching between sitting and standing, the benefits are a win-win. 

  1. Reduce Back Pain 

Raise your hand if you’ve experienced back pain at work. It’s a common complaint and we hear about it frequently. 

A recent study, which followed a  trial of 146 National Health system staff in the UK, found the half who swapped their regular desk for standing desks reported better engagement with their work and fewer musculoskeletal problems*.

  1. Improve Productivity & Work Performance

The  British Medical Journal published a study run by Loughborough University which found that 43% of employees that switched to a height adjustable desk felt more productive and less fatigued after a year. 

  1. Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

As well as this, the same study foundthat standing led to a 34 per cent reduction in blood sugar levels and a 20 per cent decrease in insulin levels.

Standing for part of the day can improve the way the body takes up glucose. When the body is in movement it is letting muscles and cells know it needs food and they begin to absorb sugar from the blood. Increased exposure to high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes.

  1. Improve Mood 

A  study on Science Direct noted that prolonged sitting is linked to symptoms of  anxiety and depression and reducing time spent sitting at your desk could improve mental health. 

Having an improved mood at work  will be invaluable if you work in a team or deal with people during the day. 

  1. May Lower Risk Of Obesity & Weight Gain

The Mayo Clinic’s James Levine, widely regarded as the pioneer of standing desks, discovered that people who sit in a sedentary manner at work are more likely to gain weight than others who introduce some movement into their day.

Standing burns around 50 more calories per hour than sitting. This may not seem like a lot, but if you stand for 3 hours a day, 5 days per week, that equates to 750 calories a week, or 3.6 kg of weight gain over a year. This certainly puts some ‘weight’ behind the argument for stand-up desks!

But it’s worth noting, as Mr Levine found, standing is only the start to improving your health at work. The key is to move more during the day – walking around, flexing your legs, and shifting from sitting and standing positions – and standing provides the perfect opportunity to achieve that.

  1.  Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of men and women in New Zealand. Smoking cessation, lowering of cholesterol, weight loss and regular exercise have long been factors known to decrease the risk of heart disease. Less time sitting during the day has now joined that list of factors to avoid cardiovascular problems.

A US study discovered that men who sit for five or more hours per day are 34 per cent more likely to develop heart failure than men who sit less than 2 hours a day. An Australian study also found that extended periods of sitting raised the incidence of heart disease by 14 per cent.

More alarming is that regular exercise doesn’t necessarily negate the risk of sitting for prolonged periods of time. Even if you exercise for half an hour or more each day, you still have a 10 per cent greater chance of early death from heart disease.

  1. Reduce Risk Of Cancer

Studies have found a link between sedentary behaviour (excessive sitting rather than not enough exercise) and the incidence of ovarian, endometrial and colorectal cancers.

The risk increases along with the length of time sitting, and similar to heart disease, this is not mitigated through regular exercise. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that people interrupt their sitting every hour with some movement. So now that you’ve sat around long enough to read this post, it’s probably time to get up and stretch those legs!

There is now an organisation called  GetBritainStanding.org which believes one day it will be seen as irresponsible for Employers not to offer staff a sit-stand workstation because: 

  • Health insurance premiums will be higher if workers stay sedentary

  • Wellbeing, health and safety implications to office workers of prolonged sitting are getting growing attention

  • Productivity improvements and office collaboration of a more active working environment has a very fast payback

It is already happening in some countries, for example, in 2014, Denmark made it mandatory for employers to offer their staff sit-stand desks if a job required someone to sit two or more hours each day. Now over 90% of Danish office workers have a sit-stand desk.

How often should you stand up from your desk?

Sitting behind your desk all day is bad for your health, but on the flip side, standing at your desk all day is just as bad for your health. Therefore, experts recommend that you should  aim to stand between 2-4 hours per day to see the benefits. Start slow and work your way up to 4 hours if possible. 

What is the best stand up desk?

This will come down to personal preference, as well as other factors required for your particular office setting. Standing desks come in all shapes and sizes, as well as colours. We have a wide range from workstations, shared and manual/electric. 

If you want to improve your health and wellbeing, as well as your employees, make a change for the better,  view our range of standing desk options today.

 

*British Medical Journal