The Major Benefits from a Standing Desk
by Kenny Rhoads
A standing desk enables you to create an ergonomic, healthier office desk which you can work at while seated or standing. These standing desks are becoming increasingly popular in home and work-place offices across the country because of the range of health and productivity benefits they offer. The advantages of a sit-to-stand desk do suggest the question, who benefits most from increasing the amount of time they spend standing?
There are three main ways people benefit from a standing desk. They are all based on being able to adjust the desk height so you can work comfortably at your desk while standing. The first and most popular benefit is generally improved health. Standing burns more calories than sitting, increases the heart rate, and precipitates a host of other ameliorative health benefits that help undo and balance out some of the damage and risk that comes with sitting at a desk for seven or eight hours a day the way most people in an office do.
The second benefit is increased focus and productivity. The vast majority of people who switch to a standing desk report a correlation between spending roughly half their work day on their feet and feeling more focused and energized. Research suggests they are actually experiencing chemical changes in their body that affect their brain’s function, simply because by not just sitting, they aren’t allowing their body to become as inert, but rather are maintaining a more alert state.
The final common benefit is a general decrease in aches and pains. Sitting all day leads to tighter muscles and tendons, decreased range of motion, and repetitive-motion injuries. These all contribute to soreness and aches that can manifest in the leg muscles and joints, lower back, upper back, shoulders, and neck. Standing – and talking frequent stretch breaks to walk around, which is more common for those who work at standing desks – introduces natural standing postures that reduce the prevalence of these aches.
So who benefits most? People who are overweight or feel they have too much body fat can be among the biggest benefactors of the first advantage. Just changing your routine to stand for half your day can help strengthen the heart and lungs and lead to significant fat loss. Nearly everyone who works in a seated office setting enjoys the advantages of the second benefit. And people who spend a lot of time working, especially those who already have nagging injuries from other experiences like sports or an automobile accident, are the primary beneficiaries of increased flexibility and range of motion.
So if you find yourself in one of these three camps – you have an unhealthy amount of excess body fat you want to address, you feel like your focus and energy are low while at work, or you have aches and pains that you wish to relieve – then a standing desk could be a huge benefit to you and your quality of life both in and outside the office.