Did you know 60% of Australian adults do less than 30 minutes of exercise each day? We know how difficult it can be to keep active especially if you are like most office workers who spend between four and nine hours sitting at their desks. Here’s where the health benefits of standing desks come in.
The good news is there are ways to keep yourself active at work. One of the simplest ways is to use a standing desk.
However, like all tools, there are right and wrong ways of using a tool.
In order to maximise the health benefits a standing desk offers; you should change your posture every 30 to 45 minutes. By doing so, you find a sweet spot.
You prevent yourself from staying in one position for too long which can lead to health issues. At the same time, you are making enough movements to get a light workout.
Here are 5 surprising health benefits standing desks at your workplace:
1. Reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases
You can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases by sitting for 3 hours or less a day. A study was conducted on 1,00,000 adults in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
It found that people who sat for 6 hours or more a day died earlier than those who sat for 3 hours or less a day. Women who sat less had an approximately 40% higher death rate, and men around 20% higher death rate.
How does a standing desk come in handy? Switching between sitting and standing every 30 minutes reduces your sitting times to less than 4 hours in a day.
2. Lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
Did you know an estimated 1.3 million Australian adults (6% population) are living with diabetes with type 2 diabetics being the fastest growing chronic condition.
The good news is type 2 diabetes is largely preventable.
By adopting a more active lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of a significant 22% according to a study published in Diabetologia.
Breaking up periods of prolonged sitting with 30 minutes stints of sitting and standing can reduce your risk of developing this lifestyle disease.
This is a much easier health benefit to achieve with a standing desk.
3. Reduce your risk of musculoskeletal issues
Do you know what prolonged sitting can do to your health? According to Cornell University, sitting puts about 40 to 90 percent more pressure on your back compared to standing.
It is thus not surprising that long hours at a desk job is a common cause of back or neck pain.
In fact, around 8 in 10 Australians will experience some form of back or neck pain in their working lives.
This is where an ergonomically designed electric standing desk converter comes in handy.
A standing desk helps activate different sets of muscles between sitting and standing thus preventing pressure build ups.
In an Australian study, researchers compared the back pain level of those who used a sit stand desk converter every 30 minutes versus those who were seated only.
They found that those who used a sit-stand desk experienced a 31.8 percent reduction in lower back pain compared to those who only sat.
4. Reduce your risk of obesity
There was an interesting study conducted by Dr James A Levine of the Mayo Clinic. He recruited a group of workers who engaged in routine exercise while following a specific diet.
He found that despite the diet and exercise, some participants gained weight, and others did not.
He found a startling explanation on why this was the case.
Participants who were leaner had spent 2 hours more each day fidgeting. Conversely, participants who were more obese spent 2 hours more each day sitting idle.
The extra motion of fidgeting burns an astonishing 350 extra calories per day, which adds up to a weight loss of 4 to 13 kg per year!
Try standing with a standing desk. You will be shocked at how much more you move and fidget when you stand.
5. Reduce your risk of cancer
It has been found that sitting too much is responsible for 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer in the United States annually.
As a possible explanation, scientists found that people who sit for longer durations had a higher number of C-reactive proteins, a factor in the development of cancer.
Dr. Neville Owen of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute explains. He said that “[s]itting 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 is not dependent on body weight or how much exercise people do.”
If sitting is part of your job, what can you do about it? You could take regular breaks from your desk by stepping away to speak to your colleagues, using the stairs instead of elevator, or taking a walk.
This is easier said than done because we do get caught up at our desks rushing deadlines don’t we?
To make activity at work a regular habit, we recommend you invest in a good standing desk converter and switch between sitting and standing every 30 minutes.
This is the easiest way to achieve the health benefits of standing desks offers without affecting your work.