The Standing Desk: Should You Stand All Day?
There has been lots of discussion in the news media recently about the benefits of standing while working at a computer. As a result, the Standing Desk has found its way into more and more office environments. Many artists and craftspeople have also turned to standing desks as craft tables, workbenches, or even a sewing tables. Without a doubt, all the research shows increased metabolism, greater clarity and productivity while individuals stand up to work. Lately, however, there has also been some concern about the risks of standing too long and questions have arisen about which work posture is best, standing or sitting. In truth, it’s not an either/or question. In truth, the greatest benefits derive from doing both intermittently throughout your day.
Benefits of Standing
Obesity has been on the rise in the western world as the workforce increasingly has become more sedentary by using conventional sit-only desks. With the advent of recent studies, it has been shown that 40% more calories are burned while standing. With the average American sitting in excess of 14 hours per day, with 60% of us essentially inactive, we only put out 2.5 hours of physical exertion in a week! No wonder we’re obese. What’s more, it’s not surprising that, with the much touted increased calorie burn while using a standing desk, many have switched to them. And calories consumed are not even the only health benefit; there are others.
Don’t Throw Out the Chair
Using a standing desk while working does improve one’s overall health benefits and reduces risk of injury or illness. However, like so much in life, excess standing can cause other hazards. Prolonged standing has been shown to increase problems in the musculoskeletal domain, creating damage in the lower back, legs and knees. Problems like joint damage, foot problems, varicose and spider veins, even circulatory problems leading to heart disorders or stroke have been documented. It has also been discovered that pregnant women who are on their feet for too long tend to have babies with smaller birth weights and may also have other associated problems with pregnancy.
Standing AND Sitting Is the Best Approach
So while there are associated benefits as well as associated risks to standing or sitting for protracted periods of time, which is best? Quite simply, doing both is the most rational approach to maintaining a healthy and balanced body. Choosing a height adjustable standing desk, one that facilitates a standing desk position that can also be easily converted to a sitting position, is ideal. Some practitioners suggest continuous sitting and standing, each, to not exceed 4 hours in a day. In this way, workers can have the best advantages of both posture work styles while also minimizing any risks involved with doing either for too long throughout their day.