What’s Better, A Sit Or Stand Desk? Get Both With A Height Adjustable Standing Desk!

 

 

 

What’s Better, A Sit Or Stand Desk?

 

 

Standing DeskHave 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.

Standing desk 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!

Standing officeHave 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.

ergonomic infographic

 

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.

 

Varidesk

 

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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15 Comments

  1. Hi Dr. Brad!
    Thanks for the article I love how you discussed so many benefits of a standing desk. Recently I heard there were also benefits to reducing clot risk with standing desks also! I have read this other article as well, and although it does have some limitations I think it does give some insight regarding the benefits of standing over prolonged sitting. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21037335 Did you have any thoughts about it?
    Thanks so much for this great article; sharing with my classmate now 🙂

    • Hi Jeff,

      I did not see that article when I was researching this topic. It is easy to miss when there is so much scientific literature to sift through! Although we always try to read as many papers as possible from both sides.

      Just another confirmation that we need to seriously look at our work postures and habits.

      Thanks for the input!

      Dr Brad

  2. This was a very informative post and I agree 100{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999}. I work from home and don’t really have a way to put in a stand-desk anywhere. I do like it better though. I’d much prefer to stand up and be able to move around and get work done. Your post had a lot of great information in it and well written. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Matt’s Mom,

      I really like having the option to either sit and work, or to stand for a while. Personally I am probably about 50/50 between the two, depending on what else I have been doing that day. Having the option to stand and move around is great, I really find it helps me work more efficiently!

      Al the best,

      Dr Brad

  3. Thanks for the information. I’ve always wondered what other people thought about these desks. I suffer from back problems and generally do most of work at a desk all day. Unfortunately i don’t have this option at the office but will keep in mind for my home office.

    • Hi Dan,

      For desk workers, or even those that just spend a lot of time at their computer, we believe this is the best option available right now!

      Thanks,

      Dr Brad

  4. Hi, For someone like me, who have already developed a problem with my lower back, a standing desk is like a good idea. The culture of standing desk has not been in practice in my country. But judging the numbers of young people having lower backache, obesity and other health problems that results from sitting posture and lack of physical movement for long hour, perhaps it’s not too soon to promote the idea of standing desk.

    • HI Kenny,

      Absolutely!! You could be the trendsetter for your country and get onto one first! If you are having back problems, you need to be looking at solutions like this.

      Have an amazing day!

      Dr Brad

  5. Yeah, I’ve seen somewhere else that many people think standing desks are straight up more healthy. Even though it’s because it’s actually the same principle – you’re not moving.

    Your idea of alternating between stances is great. But I heard all those motorized desks are pretty pricey. Do you have a cheap option to recommend?

    • HI Julius,

      Adjustable standing desks are certainly a healthier option if you are stuck at a desk all day.

      This one might suit your purpose if you are on a tight budget, although it is not adjustable.

      http://amzn.to/1XZdUAY

      All the best,

      Dr Brad

    • Hi,

      Thanks for sharing the article, it is quite an interesting read.
      One of the great things with with ongoing research is that we continue to question and explore. These new findings certainly give us some thought provoking questions.

      However, healthyspines.org still stands by our recommendation of a variable sit and stand desk, if only from a spinal health perspective. It is well documented that too much sitting is bad for our backs, so alternating between sitting and standing is the best solution if you are stuck behind a computer for a large part of the day. Particularly when combined with maintaining a reasonable level of continued movement throughout the day where possible.

      Thanks again for the interesting article.

      Dr Brad

  6. Adjustable standing desk is an effective and often simple solution, as it forces employees to stand up straight rather than hunch, and it also engages employees’ legs, which helps blood circulation and can even lower insulin and glucose levels in your bloodstream.

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