My story might be similar to a some of yours. Athletics have been a huge part of my life since my childhood. I’ve always exercised regularly. I eat a plant-based, whole foods diet (i.e., vegan) and am conscientious about making good health choices. A few years ago, I developed a hip flexor injury after a ski trip. I went to physical therapy and learned what I thought was a running injury was actually a “sitting injury.” My physical therapist explained to me that when you sit for prolonged periods of time, your muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your legs and hips get short and tight. This is the opposite of what happens when you run, walk, or stand. I guess years of sitting at a desk grinding it out for 12-18 hours a day finally caught up with me.
In addition to stretching and strengthening to solve my injury, I decided to start standing at work. I had the guys in our shop make a little podium that I could put on top of my desk. I put my laptop on top of the podium. It was a pretty basic set-up, but it worked. Standing enabled me to elongate my hip flexor muscles which really helped to reduce the tightness in my hips. I found myself doing calf stretches throughout the day as well. In general, I found myself moving around a lot more during the day and not having that compression in my lower back that starts to build up after hours of sitting. I got an anti-fatigue mat that was really cushy and made standing really easy. I found that all of the benefits of standing that I had read about were true. I felt more active, more productive, more alert, more empowered, and just generally healthier.
After realizing how much standing helped me, we decided to start making stand-up desks for other people with the idea that maybe we could help them too. We came up with a simple but elegant design. Like the solution the guys in the shop made for me, our first product, The Standee Classic, was a desktop podium product that folded flat and easily assembled with no tools. We added the Standee Classic-XL to meet the needs of our customers who wanted a larger desk podium with a little more real estate to work. We also added a really great anti-fatigue mat to complement our standing desk product line which we ingeniously named “StandeeMat.”
We wanted to make our stand up desks out of eco-friendly materials so we chose bamboo, which is not only beautiful, but it is one of the most eco-friendly materials on earth. We also wanted to make our desks in the U.S., not just because we wanted superior craftsmanship, but because we wanted to do our small part in helping to create jobs and support the U.S. economy.
It’s been interesting to watch the market for stand-up desks grow. A lot of companies offer full-desk solutions with “adjustable height” models that go up and down with the push of a button. I suppose there are people who are looking to replace their conventional desk with a fancy solution. But, for me, I think it is all about standing. I view it more as an issue of will than an issue of equipment. I don’t need a fancy motorized desk to stand. I just want to stand and feel better. It reminds me of those guys who get the fancy weight lifting and exercise equipment and get everything synced with their new iPhone exercise app. I like the approach where you just run hard for an hour or accomplish just as much with a simple set of dumb bells and a pull-up bar. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to stand at work. You just need to stand. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to sit—meetings, lunch, commuting, etc. My advice is to start standing and not worry about finding a solution that makes it easy to sit.
By J. A. Young
A long day at court and, perhaps, stuck in traffic on the way back to the office—many a lawyer has enjoyed the thought of kicking back in their comfortable office chair to finish off the day and mentally de-stress. Yet the notion of eliminating stress while sitting down has been challenged by the medical community. Exercise, of course, has been associated with decreased stress levels, but as the University of Texas asserted, “sitting around can mean letting stress accumulate in your body” (cmhc.utexas.edu/stress.html). So instead of hunkering down in your chair after a court case or lunch meeting, try tackling stress on your feet behind a standing desk.
Working behind a desk for the better part of each day is simply a matter of course for many professionals. As an example, many attorneys might find themselves sitting for hours at a time while contemplating their work. Not only can sitting for long periods place considerable stress on your back, sitting is not associated with a healthy lifestyle.
Standing, however, allows a person to burn more calories and reduces the risk for chronic back pain associated with occupations where people do a lot of sitting. Because excessive sitting has been linked to other health conditions like heart disease and diabetes, standing may allow people to decrease these risks. Moreover, standing can impact the body’s circulation and allow it to move. Simply shifting weight from side to side or swing one’s leg is more action—more exercise—than one experiences while sitting down to work.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and most say it interferes at least moderately with their lives, according to the most recent ADAA survey on stress and anxiety disorders” (adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st). To combat this daily stress, many people turn to physical activity. The ADAA also asserted that “Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.”
Consequently, standing up to work as opposed to sitting down can dramatically impact the way many attorneys combat stress—both mental and physical stress. The same endorphins that are released and act as natural “pain killers” during exercise also are associated with diminishing anxiety and stress.
The quick answer—standing up to work may certainly make you feel like a better person all the way around. Sitting down too much can cause a person to feel lethargic and certainly not at their best. Standing can increase attention and focus; it’s one reason why many schools are turning to standing desks. Many law firms have already adopted stand up desks to suit increasing numbers of attorneys who prefer to work on their feet for the many reasons listed above. According to an article in Legal Intelligence (law.com/jsp/pa/PubArticlePA.jsp?id=1202430025133&slreturn=20130601095253), many younger lawyers are driving this new healthier work trend in various firms throughout the country and results have been positive. Yet no matter what your age, you may be able to achieve greater health benefits and reduce your stress level merely by switching from sitting to standing while on the job.
Have a stressful career that you think a standing desk could help with? We want to know.. leave a comment below!
By J. A. Young
Every teacher knows them—the fidgety, can’t-sit-still kids, the kids with energy to spare. As many parents would argue, all of them have energy to spare. Is this energy being wasted while children are forced for hours throughout each school day to sit still? Can this energy be rechanneled in a direction that enhances learning? Enter the standing desk—a simple design whereby people stand up to work. Many educators have discovered that it helps their most “energized” students remain focused on school work. Yet the design of this novel desk appears to have many other benefits as well.
One of the first benefits of standing desks is about giving the body something to do so the mind can concentrate on educational tasks. Many students feel trapped in their desks and those with energy to spare wind up fidgeting and scrunched into their seats. Often, they find it difficult to accomplish assignments in their seats when they’re preoccupied with “stretching out.” The standing desks, for those students who are in need of them, allow the body to have that stretch and freedom to move, at least in place, so that the mental focus can do what it needs to do.
People often say that exercise makes them feel more alert and gives them more energy. Could it be that sitting at a desk makes people feel more lethargic? Standing at attention may actually be a great support for “paying attention.” While standing desks are still new to the classroom, the idea that they can promote better focus has many schools looking to offer them—at least as an option for interested students.
Standing around burns more calories than sitting around. Advocates for curbing the increase in childhood obesity have a new friend in the standing desk. The Chicago Tribune recently reported on a pilot study involving first graders that “showed that using a standing desk significantly increased caloric expenditure in first graders” (articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-07/health/chi-standing-desks-the-classroom-of-the-future-20120807_1_desks-standings-classroom).
While standing up at desks burns more calories than sitting at them, it may also be good for children’s health in other ways. For decades now, healthcare providers have warned about the dangers of sedentary lifestyles. Workers who sit all day long at desks have increased health risks for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. According to a recent report in Forbes, excess sitting has also been linked to increased risk for colon cancer and breast cancer (forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2013/02/09/why-sitting-increases-your-risk-of-dying-sooner/). Standing all day, therefore, can help diminish these increased risks.
Many standing desks come with stools as well as swinging foot rests. Students then have a choice when it comes to posturing their body as they do schoolwork. This kind of freedom, while unusual, supports what a Mayo Clinic physician refers to as the “activity-permissive” classroom, according to a New York Times article (nytimes.com/2009/02/25/us/25desks.html). Having the freedom to choose what feels right for their bodies is certainly different, but as educational practices evolve, this scenario is standing to gain support among innovative educators.
Many educators support the standing desk idea as do many employers. Standing desks are still in their infancy when it comes to education, but more research will certainly be forthcoming as this exciting trend spreads.
Are you using a standing desk? we want to hear your story! Please comment below.
It’s nice to have all of the conveniences of modern society - the ability to make a living in a climate-controlled office rather than brave the elements to hunt for food or farm like your ancestors did. There’s only one problem. Humans were meant to move. The reality is sitting too much isn’t good for you – and if you work an office job, you probably do lots of that. With the availability of technology that lets you work a job, pay bills and socialize with your pals without leaving your chair, it’s easy to get too comfy for your health – and that’s not a good thing.
Recent research published in reputable journals shows that people who sit for hours working a desk job have a greater risk for a number of health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Even scarier, sitting too long increases the risk for dying prematurely. Here’s the real kicker. Sitting too long is harmful even if you work out at the gym an hour a day. Seems that a daily workout of any length doesn’t make up for the long hours you spend glued to a chair.
Health problems and premature death aren’t the only drawbacks to too much sitting. Prolonged sitting can trigger back pain or worsen existing back pain and lead to calf tightness and other orthopedic issues. It’s not good for your spine or your posture either. Plus, when you sit, your metabolism takes a dive and you burn fewer calories. Stay glued to your chair long enough and you’ll be shopping for a new wardrobe after you can’t button your pants due to the weight you’ve gained.
Who says you have to sit at the office? Some people are replacing their chair with a standing desk so they can work from a standing position. Why is standing better? You burn 30 to 40 calories per hour when you move from a sitting to a standing position. Work an eight hour day? That’s an extra 240 calories to 320 calories daily. This adds up to a pound of weight loss every 10 days to 2 weeks if you change nothing else!
More calories burned and a reduced risk of dying prematurely aren’t the only benefits of trading in your chair for a standing desk. Sitting all day zaps your energy too. How many times have you gone home from work feeling “fried” even though you never got up from your chair? Standing instead of sitting can also increase your productivity since your energy levels won’t plummet from sitting too long. Plus, it’s a better choice ergonomically as long as you choose a desk that’s the right height. This translates into less back and neck pain – and better posture.
There are lots of reasons to switch to a standing desk but the most important one is to preserve your health. You weren’t made to sit all day – and you don’t have too when you equip your office with a standing desk. Once you do, expect to feel better and be more productive. Isn’t it time to make the switch?
This is an interesting subject that I have been getting feedback on since the launch of the first Standee Classic standing desk. It's an unexpected benefit of standing when you could be sitting for extended periods of time.
Customers have been telling us that since they started using our standing desks, mild ailments such as shoulder and lower back pain have been reduced. That's not to say that it is a direct result of the standing desk, but who knows, perhaps the standing position takes a lot of pressure off of areas of the body that have been exposed to the sedentary lifestyle for far too long.
So with all of that being said, we want to know more.. what do you do to help with your back pain? What has worked and what has not? Have you tried a standing desk solution and what are / or were the results?
Not too long ago I started a new job at a retail display company in Oceanside California. On the day of the interview, while on a tour of the facility, I noticed a great deal of people at the company standing at elevated desks and lacking traditional office chairs of any kind.
I'm a pretty open minded guy, but I wondered if this was some type of sweatshop where upper management had decided to punish employees by committing them to 8+ hours of standing at their stations or if rough economic times had forced individuals to sell their office chairs to help keep the lights on. I then came to realize that even upper management was standing at their desks. Had the upper management attempted to be martyrs and demonstrate their devotion to some cause?
After the interview, I arrived home. When my wife asked me about the company all I honestly could say was "Well, they do a lot of standing around." to which she replied "Well that's not good."
I was offered the position and decided to accept because I genuinely liked some of the people and challenge the position offered - standing or not.
After about a week on the job, my co-workers encouraged me to stand while I work. I wasn't opposed to the idea because I noticed that someone at a standing desk is much more approachable than when they are sitting and have their heads buried in a computer screen.
I wondered if I could stand for 8 to 10 hours while I work. This seemed like a pretty big deal. A few days later, one of my co-workers brought me a Standee (It's our version of a bamboo standing desk).
Day 1- was a bit strange while I got used to it.
Day 2- I was a bit sore in my back and legs
Day 3- The soreness began to dissipate
Day 4- I noticed myself standing much more while not at work and even while watching some occasional tv at home.
Day 5- I suspect my muscles had adjusted to the new posture, and I felt like I had a lot more energy throughout the day.
It has now been a month, and I rarely ever sit down at work. I stand almost all day at my workstation and with an ironic twist, find sitting to be somewhat uncomfortable for more than 30 minutes at a time. Soreness and exhaustion that I had often dealt with over the years seemed to be gone too. I think there's something to this standing and working thing.
So as the marketing guy for Standee, I can honestly say that I stand behind the product and the concept (pun intended).
If one is finding her bones achy and energy unusually low at the end of the work day, it may be time to consider changing up work habits to help reduce stress on the mind and body.
One remedy that is helping with some of these issues involves folks taking to their feet at their office jobs. Using a standing desk is not a new concept, it has been around for a long time, and some notable names were practitioners of this lifestyle:
Fame aside, sitting all day at your desk has hidden dangers beyond just the general discomfort. New research suggests that the more a person sits, the higher their risk for an early death from a multitude of ailments which include cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
Some great articles to reference include:
This one from Men's Health
This piece from NPR
And this article from Women's Health
So with all of this information in hand, perhaps it's time that we get off our butts and onto our feet and take a stand for our health.
Adding a Standing Desk solution to the current office routine may not be a worthless idea.
Check out the Standee Classic for starters.
Have questions about adjusting to the standing desk lifestyle? Please let us know here.