Sitting for hours in that comfortable Aeron chair may feel good in the short run. But it could prove detrimental to your health in the years to come. Let’s look at 5 benefits of standing desk which are backed by science and what it can do for your wellbeing in the long run.
Sitting is the new smoking today!
You would be surprised to know that an average person spends around 5 hours 41 minutes sitting each day.
This is evident enough. From the time we wake up till the time we sleep, we’re sitting all the time—in our cars stuck in traffic, in our office staring at our computer screens and even after work, binge-watching The House of Cards.
Sometimes it seems that our sedentary lifestyle is only punctuated by walking from the parking lot to the office.
It’s time to define another default posture for a healthy life – standing.
We only have to look at personalities like Earnest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, and Winston Churchill who were well known for standing at work, to see that there might be benefits of standing desk after all.
Here are some benefits of standing desk you can enjoy at work:
1. Standing reduces the risk of heart disease
In the 1950s some British researchers compared the rate of heart diseases among bus drivers and bus conductors in London. They found that bus drivers (who sat for their work) experienced 42 percent more heart attacks compared to the conductors (who stand for their work).
Another study conducted on 1,00,000 adults in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that people who sat for 6 hours or more died earlier than those who sat for 3 hours or less. This was attributed mostly to mortality caused by cardiovascular problems.
It’s quite evident that sitting too much is bad for our heart.
2. Standing lowers your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
One of the benefits of standing desk is that regular usage could lead to a reduced risk of adult-onset type 2 diabetes.
According to a study published in Diabetologia, those with a sedentary lifestyle had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Inactivity was associated with a 22 percent increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes, and a 39 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome.
One of the ways to reduce the risk of diabetes is to take short standing or walking breaks. Activity from these breaks reduce the amount of sugar or glucose levels in your blood.
So if you have a family history of the disease or have already been diagnosed as being pre-diabetic, speak with your doctor to see if increasing your activity levels with a standing desk can help.
3. Standing desks could reduce your risk of musculoskeletal problems.
From countless research and our conversations with physiotherapists, we know that the incidence of lower back and neck issues are on the rise among office workers.
About 80 percent of office workers will eventually develop lower back or neck pain. A significant percentage of these will become chronic.
This is where an ergonomically designed electric standing desk converter comes in handy.
In a comparative study on a group of workers in Australia, the fatigue level of people who used a stand-up desk converter every 30 minutes versus those who were seated only were compared.
The researchers found a significant reduction of 31.8 percent in lower back pain and a 22% reduction in overall tiredness in those who could use the sit-stand desk.
If you feel similar pains and aches, we suggest that you speak to your physiotherapist to see whether a standing desk could help alleviate your musculoskeletal problems.
4. Standing more reduces the risk of obesity
Now here’s something you can tell your mom – fidgeting, shaking your foot and an inability to sit still, could actually make you leaner and healthier.
And this is backed up by research!
James A Levin an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic began investigative research on why people fall prey to obesity. For this, he recruited a group of workers who engaged in regular exercise and followed a specific diet.
Despite the standardized diet and exercise, some participants gained weight, and some didn’t.
Dr Levine’s study found that the reason was this was because obese people tend to fidget much less as compared to the leaner people. In fact, obese participants spent at least 2 hours more each day sitting idle.
A fact that might astonish you is that fidgeting alone is enough to burn 350 extra calories per day, which adds up to an awe-inspiring weight loss of 4 to 13 kg per year.
So if you know for a fact that you tend to sit still, it’s time to look into ways to increase your activity level.
5. Standing may reduce your risk of cancer
Specific types of cancers including colorectal cancer and breast cancer have been correlated to inactive lifestyles.
A study conducted in 2011 by the American Institute of Cancer Research found that extended hours of sitting is responsible for 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 of colon cases in the U.S. annually.
While the underlying reason for such an increase is unclear, the scientists found a higher number of C-reactive proteins (which is a type of biomarker) in people who sat for a longer duration. This could be tied to the development of cancer.
As Dr Neville Owen of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute puts it-
“Sitting time is emerging as a strong candidate for being a cancer risk factor in its own right. It seems highly likely that the longer you sit, the higher your risk. This phenomenon isn’t dependent on body weight or how much exercise people do.”
So, what can we do?
Whether or not we like it, many of us have to work for a living and in this modern day, that involves a lot of seated computer work.
While we can now jump up to take a walking meeting or walk around the office, ad hoc stints of activity will not do much good.
The key is to make activity at work into a regular habit. A standing desk or standing desk converter is a good way to do this.
The benefits of standing desks is that it not only enables but in the case of the Altizen Pro Standing Desk, actually reminds, you to be active. This will be very helpful in keeping your health in control in the long run.