Today, many adults spend at least 7 hours a day sitting down, with this number rising to 10 hours or more as we get older. Extended periods of sitting is bad for our bodies, which are not designed for such sedentary behaviour. A whole range of illnesses & ailments such as neck strain, back problems, muscle loss, diabetes and heart disease can all be linked to prolonged sitting.
One simple way to change this behaviour is by using a sit-stand desk in the workplace. A sit-stand desk (also known as stand-up desk) is a workstation which allows the user to switch between a seated position and a standing position, providing the flexibility to change posture considerably whilst still being able to work on desk based activities efficiently.
There are many proven benefits to sit-stand desking, but here are some of the most important ones.
When compared to sitting, standing actually burns more calories. Whilst early studies found this to be significant, up to 50 calories per day, more recent research has found it to be considerably less. However, 6 hours a day standing would burn the equivalent of around 2.5kg of fat burned a year. Breaking up your standing across an afternoon (half an hour seated, half an hour standing) is one way of easily hitting this target. Add in a short walk or to and you will really start to see some benefits. Once you're on your feet, you are more inclined to take a walk after all.
One of the biggest causes of back pain is sedentary behaviour, especially when sat at a desk for long periods of time without postural changes. Back pain is also one of the biggest causes of time off work, costing the US economy alone $88 billion annually. Converting to a sit stand desk is a great way to combat this issue.
By introducing sit-stand desking, you provide the opportunity for workers to sit and stand whilst working, encouraging regular changes of posture and movement of the body. A 2018 study by Straker found that any longer than 40 minutes of continuous standing causes musculo-skeletal discomfiture, suggesting that standing for too long also causes back pain.
The most important thing is that you keep your body moving, and sit stand desks give you this opportunity, relieving any pressures on the back.
Sit stand desking can raise and lower to meet the needs of people of every height. Featured: HÅG Capisco
The World Health Organization has identified a sedentary lifestyle as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. A whole range of illnesses and disorders are caused by spending too long sitting down. By introducing sit stand desking, and varying from sitting to standing regularly throughout the day, you can receive many health benefits, including:
Research has found that using standing desks can have a positive effect on your general wellbeing. Participants in various studies have expressed feeling less stressed, more energetic and full of vigour when compared to those who remained seated throughout the entire day.
These results correlate with wider research on the effects of sitting on mental health, which links sedentary behaviour with depression and anxiety.
Contrary to what you may think, standing whilst working may actually improve your productivity. Whilst it may take getting used to, there is no evidence to suggest that your work rate takes a hit when on your feet, and the added benefits towards your wellbeing can help induce creativity, which may also help you work better. A recent study highlighted exactly this.
There are studies that show standing sometimes improves performance when compared to sitting, for tasks such as sending emails and making telephone calls.
Featured: RH Support
It’s called sit-stand for a reason – When using a sit stand desk, don’t try and go for standing 100% of the time. If you are using an electric sit-stand desk, or one that is adapted easily, a good idea is to try alternating between sitting and standing every half hour in the afternoons.
Getting the height right – Make sure the desk is the right height when standing, with the top of your monitor at or just below eye level, and your arms parallel to the desk when typing. Also your knees and back should be straight and not hunched
Small increments – It can be difficult to adjust to this style of working to begin with, so if you are struggling, try small increments each day, until you are at a level you are comfortable with.
Help the cleaners – If you raise your desk towards the last part of your working day and leave it like that when you go home, It will be much easier for cleaners to clean your desk and the space below it. Next morning you will find the desk in a standing position which can be a good start of the working day after your commuting to work (probably sitting most of the time in your car or public transport!)
Richard Ferris on 20 Nov 2018, 10:31:42