The Truth Behind Standing Desks

No doubt about it – standing desks are all the rage. These desks allow you to work at your desk while standing rather than sitting in a chair. 

Furthermore, prices have come down so much over the past few years that they are even considered the default option in some workplaces. There are also new variants that are wall-mounted, cardboard, or even built into walking machines!

But how much of this is hype? On one side, there is a growing body of evidence that prolonged sitting is bad for the health. Too much sitting can cause high blood pressure and high blood sugar, and can increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A study showed that compared to people who are more active, those that spend a long time not moving had a:

  • 112% increase in risk of diabetes
  • 147% increase in cardiovascular events (more).

The risks caused by sedentary work are known to increase when combined with lack of exercise, lots of travel and/or a ‘couch potato’ lifestyle at home.

Standing Desk Benefits 

Standing while working can have a major impact on your health and body. Some benefits include:

  • Improved posture
  • Reduced back pain
  • Lowered risk of heart disease
  • Improved mood
  • Boost in productivity

However, research is not so clear about the solutions. For starters, ask a waiter how they feel about standing all day. In short, we need to get beyond templates, averages and generalities.

Standing desks do not replace the need for daily exercise. It does not have a large impact on weight loss as study shows standing at your desk for 3 hours only burns an extra 24 calories than sitting. However, walking for just a half hour could burn an extra 100 calories each day (more).

The benefits of a standing desk are dependent on both the use and the user. Not everyone will prefer to stand while working. In some cases, they might aggravate existing problems and create new ones, such as leg/foot pain. For this reason, we’d suggest you begin with a workstation assessment before making any purchasing decisions.

Our qualified workstation assessors are able to make specific suggestions about product options to suit the worker.  You can request a work station assessment here.

If you are considering using a standing desk, it is recommended to start standing for just 30 minutes at a time, a few times a day. Then gradually add on more time as you feel more comfortable.

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