What’s Better, A Sit Or Stand Desk?
Have you ever toyed with the idea of using a stand-up desk? Often people can’t decide on whether they should use a sit or stand desk. Maybe it’s because you are worried that your legs will get tired if you have to stand at work all day. And is spending that much time standing still really good for you anyway?
Whilst it is well known that too much sitting is seriously bad for your spinal (and overall) health, good research on standing desks is still in it’s early stages.
Also, it turns out, prolonged standing causes health problems too. Plenty of studies show that it increases the risk of carotid atherosclerosis (a disease of the arteries) ninefold due to the extra load on your circulatory system. You’re more likely to get varicose veins, which cause all sorts of complications.
On the other hand, a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggests that the simple lack of movement, be it sitting or standing, is unhealthy.
The good news is you can actually find a fantastic compromise by using a height adjustable standing desk. Experts agree that the best way to promote long-term health if you have a desk job is to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. And while you’re standing, don’t just stand still, keep moving! Walk around and take a break, go get a glass of water, listen to music and have a bit of a dance, shift your weight around from foot to foot.
The benefits of using a standing desk are massive! And there is enough evidence to suggest that switching to a standing desk is in fact a very good move. In fact there are several surprising, but very good reasons why thousands of workers are buying standing desks to use in their workplace. One of them you won’t believe, and that is because it can actually make you smarter! But first up….
What Is A Standing Desk.
A standing desk is basically a desk that allows you to stand comfortably at your work station. It can be a stand alone table/desk, or an add-on that sits on top of your regular desk.
They usually have a couple of ‘decks’ or surfaces at different levels so you can place your monitor at eye level, and your keyboard and mouse slightly lower, in keeping with proper ergonomics.
Most modern designs incorporate a sit-stand, or height adjustable standing desk set-up, which is becoming increasingly popular due to the ability to alternate between sitting and standing.
Here are some of the benefits of using a standing desk.
1) You will probably be better at your job!
Have you ever wondered why little kids will sometimes stick their tongues out the side of their mouths when they are really concentrating on a task (like colouring in for example)? Funny question right, and you are probably thinking it has nothing to do with office desks. But maybe not!
It is the same reason that adults will sometimes tap their pen or a foot when they are stuck on a problem. Surprisingly, it is also a great reason for using a standing desk.
The answer, quite simply, is that movement stimulates our brains. That is why when we are struggling mentally, the body instinctively knows that ‘If I move, I have better chance of kicking my brain into a higher gear’. So we start to tap a leg, or stick our tongues out. You may have even found yourself that there are times when you can’t remember something, and then it suddenly comes to you later. Probably after you have done something active, like going for a walk at lunch time!
This is one of the great advantages of using a standing desk. When we stand we naturally move more, keeping our brains at a higher level of function than when we are sitting still for long periods.
Standing also boosts mood and energy levels too, which helps to increase productivity.
2) Reduce back pain.
Back pain is a very common result of excessive time spent sitting. All too common in the workplace.
Recent medical studies have shown that levels of back pain greatly decreased after just a few weeks of using a standing desk. What’s more, most of these problems returned within 3 weeks of going back to a sitting desk!
Check yourself against this info-graphic to optimise your workstation ergonomics.
3) Standing guards against Obesity, Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure.
Research has shown that standing and alternating between sitting and standing helps to burn more calories than just sitting, helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, and reduces your risk of developing heart disease (1, 2, 3, 4)
That is some serious information right there! Let’s look at how sitting affects your health: when you slump in your chair, your calorie-burning slows to a third of the rate compared to walking. Your metabolism slows down, and as a result, your risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes increases.
The link between sitting and obesity was established recently by the American Cancer Society. It found that people who stand for at least a quarter of the day reduce their chances of becoming obese. The benefits were more pronounced for women than men.
So knowing all these amazing benefits, you would be mad not to be looking at purchasing a stand up desk. But as we mentioned earlier, there is also research showing that too much standing is not so great either. So what are you to do?
If you are considering a standing desk, we recommend using an adjustable model. This will allow you to alternate between sitting and standing, giving you the benefits of standing without increasing any associated health risks.
At the Heathyspines.org offices we personally use the VARIDESK Pro Plus standing desk. It is a very high quality, modern design that is really well built, and looks uber cool too! It sits right on top of your existing desk, and has adjustable height settings.
You can click right on the image of the VARIDESK Pro Plus standing desk for more details and where you can buy one for yourself. Using an adjustable standing desk has proven to be the best compromise between a sit or stand desk, and receives our highest recommendation.
We also recommend using an anti-fatigue mat to reduce pressure on the joints in you feet, knees and hips. They also designed to encourage proper circulation in your feet and legs.
If you do decide to go ahead with a standing desk, we advise that you start with standing for only 2 hours at the most in the beginning. After a week or so you want to split your time 50:50 between sitting and standing, changing often.
If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.
Also, if you have found this article helpful, please support us and share so we can help more people! Thankyou.
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