If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you may find yourself sitting for long periods of time. Before working at a sit-stand desk, I always knew sitting was bad, but I was never proactive enough to do anything about it. I would find myself sitting for 1-3 hours at a time. With a busy schedule and working long hours, you can end up sitting for long periods during the day. Sitting disease is a term used by health experts to describe the numerous issues caused by sitting all day. Now that I have the ability to sit and stand during my workday, I have personally noticed many health benefits. After doing my research, I have created a list of health benefits you can expect when using a standing desk, so you can prevent sitting disease.
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7 Health Benefits of Standing Desks
- Reduce Health Risks
- Reduce Back and Neck Pain
- Increase Energy and Improve Mood
- Increase Activity
- May Increase Your Lifespan
- Improved Ergonomics and Posture
- Better Circulation
- Overall Thoughts
Health Benefits of Standing Desks Video
1. Reduce Health Risks
Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to multiple health risks such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and in some cases, cancer. With a standing desk, you are able to add bouts of standing to your workday. Getting up on your feet, and even going for short walks, can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol which in turn, reduces your risk for heart disease.
Staying active and increasing your movement and exercise are the best ways to fight diabetes. Inactivity, like sitting, slows down your metabolism which can increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, when you break up your prolonged sitting with standing and walking, it significantly reduces the postprandial glucose, insulin, and NEFA in women with diabetes.
Certain cancers, especially breast cancer and colon cancer, are influenced by physical inactivity. People who are sitting for prolonged periods of time, even if they exercise regularly, have a higher risk for these types of cancers.
2. Reduces Back and Neck Pain
If you are someone who sits all day, I’m sure you’ve experienced some type of back and/or neck pain. Sitting all day can cause a lot of stress on your spine and may even lead to disc damage. When staring at a monitor for a long period of time, you start to exhibit bad posture by arching our backs. If your monitor isn’t at the correct ergonomic position, causing you to tilt your head down, you can get neck strain.
Preventing Chronic Disease, the Take-a-Stand Project, studied a group of individuals who tried sitting, standing, or walking over the course of one week, two weeks, and four weeks. Over the progression of time, the group claimed they had less lower back pain and shoulder tension, improved posture, and overall increased mood and comfort. If you are looking to reduce your neck or back pain, a standing desk could be the perfect solution.
3. Increases Energy and Improves Mood
When you are standing, your brain becomes more engaged which can increase your energy. Standing helps your blood flow easily which sends more oxygen to your muscles. When you sit for long periods of time, you tend to feel tired. Standing is a great way to boost your mood and energy, which can help prevent fatigue. With all of this increased energy, you are able to stay focused on tasks and be more productive.
4. Increases Activity
This one is sort of a no-brainer: Standing is better for you than sitting all day. Although standing isn’t technically active, standing gives you the ability to move more while you are working. While standing at your desk, you are able to have more arm and leg movement. A lot of people who have standing desks use things such as standing mats, balance boards, treadmills, or even exercise bikes. Even though standing is better for you than sitting, you want to be sure that you have active movement while standing to achieve more health benefits. With this increased activity, standing desk users are likely to burn more calories standing than sitting during the day.
5. May Increase Your Lifespan
Studies suggest that reducing your sedentary time will increase your life expectancy. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. By reducing your sitting time, you ultimately are lowering your risk for these health issues and increasing your lifespan.
Another study from the American Cancer Society states, “Women and men who both sat more and were less physical were 94% and 48% more likely, respectively, to die compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active.”
6. Ergonomics and Better Posture
Sitting can put a lot of stress on your spine, especially if you are not practicing proper ergonomics. Proper ergonomics work hand-in-hand with reducing lower back and neck pain. By choosing to stand, your spine will elongate and become less strained allowing your back to be in a natural “S” shape. Standing will help promote better posture, while giving your spine some relief. That being said, when you stand at your desk, you need to know how to be ergonomic to reap the benefits of a standing desk. Knowing how to properly sit and stand, at your new standing desk, will be key to achieving better posture.
7. Better Circulation
Another great health benefit is better circulation because it leads to other health benefits. When you choose to stand at your desk you will have better blood flow compared to sitting. Sitting can slow down your circulation which can lead to many health issues like swollen ankles, blood clots, peripheral neuropathy, and varicose veins. Standing promotes better circulation to your extremities, so you want to be sure to get up and stretch, stand, and walk around throughout the day to keep yourself healthy.
If you work a sedentary lifestyle, standing will be your key to living a healthier life. Standing is a great way to help reduce health risks like heart disease and diabetes. With proper ergonomics, standing can help improve your posture while reducing neck and back pains. Standing, and any increased movement throughout the day can help promote better circulation and activity. Overall, if you reduce the amount of sitting you do in a day, you will see many health benefits and you may even increase your lifespan.
Keep in mind, if you have a new standing desk, you should slowly work your way up to standing. Try standing for 10 minutes for every 50 minutes of sitting. Set reminders so you know when to sit or stand throughout the day so you can prevent sitting for long periods at a time. Work your way up to having a 50/50 split of standing and sitting throughout your day. If you want to really better your health, add some movement and activity to your day. Taking short walking breaks and increasing your overall activity will be the best path to a new, healthy lifestyle.