Have you heard the latest trend in office furniture? It’s the standing desk. Whether you work in a traditional office setting or work at home, it’s beneficial to have a work set-up that provides an alternative to sitting. Of course, it takes a little bit of discipline to get used to standing and working, but if you care about your health you should look into doing it on a regular basis. According to US News and World Reports, it's estimated that 86 percent of American workers sit all day long.
Many say that sitting all day is the new health hazard that may end your life sooner. Experts say that it might even be worse than smoking. It’s that serious. Maybe down the road traditional desks will be required to come with warning labels, just like cigarettes. So if you are unfamiliar with the standing desk phenomenon, stand up and take note of these 16 benefits of standing desks that you might not know.
- Better for your back: According to Prevention Magazine, sitting puts 40 percent more pressure on your lower back, which can lead to chronic pain issues.
- Decreases risk for certain diseases: Sitting all the time increases your risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. Standing for longer periods of time can help your body fight off illness and be healthier in the long run.
- Burns more calories than sitting: Standing alone burns about 20-50 more calories per hour than sitting according to a study by the wellness group Livestrong.
- Increased energy: Standing gives you energy! Your circulation is active and pumping more when you are upright.
- Improvement in your circulation: Standing allows your body’s circulatory system to work better, causing more blood to flow to your hands, legs, and feet. The extremities suffer most when you are sitting down all day. Poor circulation leads to of a “pins and needles” feeling, numbness, or even coldness in your limbs.
- Keeps your core engaged: Your core muscles are engaged when you are standing, making them stronger and keeping you in better shape.
- Decreases risk of obesity: Sitting leads to weight gain. By standing you are decreasing your risk for obesity throughout your lifetime. This is especially important as you age because your metabolism slows down as you get older.
- Helps lower cholesterol: This goes back to improvements in circulation (keeping your arteries and vessels pumping better) which can help lower your cholesterol.
Mental Health Benefits
- Allows you to fully engage your mind: Standing lets you feel more attentive. It fully engages your mind in a way that sitting does not.
- Provides heart benefits: Sitting is the new fast food. We all know how bad the saturated fat is in fast foods, so can sitting have a similar effect on the body? Sitting does not promote circulation. This can lead to heart issues in the same way that fast food does.
- You’ll live longer: Being fit, healthy, and active helps you live longer. Knowing that you are taking care of your body by using a standing desk could give you a better mental outlook, leading to a longer, healthier life. It's estimated that people who sit for more than 11 hours per day have a 40 percent increased risk of dying.
- Gets rid of mental fog: Standing makes you less foggy in your day-to-day activities and has more of an impact than that cup of coffee. Get rid of mental fog and increase your confidence by standing up to work.
- Decreases depression: Standing naturally helps to get rid of depression. It’s harder to be depressed if you are standing up, engaging your entire body and mind at the same time.
- Sense of urgency when working: There is a greater drive to get things done when you are standing.
- It’s cool: Standing desk have only recently become popular so you’ll be on the forefront of the standing desk movement. You’ll look cool and be on the cutting edge of hipness while helping out your body and mind.
- Spurs faster thinking: The reason that standing leads to faster thinking is that your brain is able to engage on all cylinders. There’s something to be said for “thinking on your feet.”
A few tips:
- Take breaks if you need them: Don’t just jump into an 8-hour standing workday if you are used to sitting most of the time. Gradually easing into the standing desk lifestyle will help you stick with it.
- Make sure you have an anti-fatigue mat: A good anti-fatigue mat is probably the single greatest factor in creating a successful standing experience. Standing on an anti-fatigue mat like the Standee Mat makes standing for a few hours a day a simple undertaking for most people. Standing on the hard ground can quickly cause foot, leg, and back pain. Wearing “comfy shoes” isn’t enough.
- Positioning needs to be right for your body and height: Make sure that the height of the standing desk is right for your specific body. Hand and arms need to be positioned correctly so that you back and neck are lined up correctly. If not, it could lead to muscle and joint pain problems all over your body. Take the time to line up your standing desk the right way for you. Learn more here.