The sitting position does not have a good reputation these days. According to statistics, the majority of office workers sit for more than 9 hours a day. This is an alarming figure because, according to a study conducted by Canadian researchers in 2015, sitting more than 6 hours per day leads to premature mortality.
Aware of the disadvantages of sitting for a long time in our offices, manufacturers have seen fit to propose new models of desks, and among them we can find the standing desk. Increasingly popular and adjustable in height, these kinds of desks have been designed to change your life. In this article, we share with you 6 great reasons to buy and use a standing desk, as well as the detrimental effects of a standard desk.
The detrimental effects of a standard desk on your health
For many years, work has made employees sedentary by requiring them to sit at their desks for the majority of the time. Between work, transportation, or leisure time, a person spends an average of 50 to 70% of his/her day in a seated position. This is too much time which quickly impacts physical health. The harmful effects of sitting in the medium and long term can become serious and interfere with our daily life. Indeed, sitting for a long time can lead to:
- A more difficult inhalation: the diaphragm is your breathing muscle, located under your lungs. As it rises and falls with the rhythm of your breathing, it will be blocked in the upper position, which will make it difficult to breathe in properly, and therefore to oxygenate your body.
- Stomach cramp and hiatal hernia: under the weight of the diaphragm blocked in the upper position, your stomach is placed in a vertical position instead of being oblique. You can then suffer from strong stomach cramps but also from a hiatal hernia.
- Constipation and bloating: because your diaphragm is held in an upright position, your colon shifts and causes a slowing down of the digestive system as well as bloating in your stomach.
Moreover, a study conducted by a group of Canadian experts reviewed more than 45 of the most important studies on the effects of sedentary life (1). They found that prolonged sitting increased the risk of premature death and disease. According their findings, sitting more than 6 hours per day is associated with a 49% increase in premature mortality!
The great news for you and me is that all these consequences can be mitigated with a simple standing desk.
6 benefits of a standing desk
A standing desk is a desk that allows you to move from a sitting to a standing position very easily thanks to its manual or electric controls. More than a fashion statement, it is above all a philosophy linked to workplace comfort. Indeed, the majority of employees who alternate postures thanks to an adjustable height desk say they feel in better shape and are more alert when they work.
The other reasons to use a standing desk are:
1. Limits weight gain and obesity
Obesity is a growing problem worldwide, and apart from the quality of food we are eating, the fact that many people spend a large part of their lives sitting is one of the reasons for its spread as it reduces the minimum movement per day to burn calories and keep the body active. Weight gain is also often accentuated by office work. Indeed, we often see people gaining a few pounds when they start a new job that requires them to sit in front of a computer all day.
Thanks to a sit stand desk, you can burn a few more calories by getting up several times a day and activating other muscles while standing, even if it's only for an hour and a half a day, reducing the risk of weight gain.
2. Reduces the risk of heart disease
It is well known that regular exercise is helpful to compensate all those hours you spend sitting at the office. However, if you sit for many hours a day throughout the year, exercise alone is not a long-term solution. Often, physical activity outside of work hours is not enough to compensate for being in the workplace all the time. Physical activity in the workplace is therefore essential. If you stand up constantly while you work, your health will be better, and a stand up desk is your best friend for that!
Studies have shown that prolonged sitting has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, The level of High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) decreases while sitting and the risk of heart attack increases (2, 3, 4). This is because HDL transports excess cholesterol in the liver and releases it into the blood vessels and if the production of HDL is low, the arteries can become calcified. In the worst case, this can lead to fatal diseases such as strokes and heart attacks, which are still among the most common causes of death in Europe. Thus, the use of a height-adjustable desk that influence a healthy HDL level due to sufficient physical activity during the day can have a positive effect on your health.
3. A standing desk can help reduce back pain
The most common complaint from full-time office employees is that they suffer from back pain because they have to sit all day. Indeed, sitting at a desk for many hours each day results in the spine forming a harmful "C" shape, as the neck works too hard to look at the monitor. Fortunately, when you work in a standing position for more than an hour in a full work day, science shows it reduces neck and back pain by up to 54% (5). And thanks to a standing desk, you can easily alternate between the sitting and standing position. This is also why standing desks are recommended by chiropractors.
4. Contributes up to 20% more efficiency and intellectual ability
Often, there are situations in everyday work life where important decisions must be made quickly.
Ideally, the mind should be focused and alert in order to react quickly. When standing, the human brain activity increases by up to 20% according to experts, which results in a much faster and better quality decision making, even after a long and arduous working day.
It is therefore useful when spending the entire working day in a tiring sitting position and to get up regularly to speed up the brain. A sit-stand desk is therefore a great advantage when high concentration level is required for many hours. Additionally, with height adjustable desks, people generally become more flexible and open.
5. Reduces stress and stimulates creativity
Stress at work is something virtually none of us can avoid. And a little stress at work is not always a bad thing. It can motivate us to accomplish more, but we can run into trouble if the stress is not managed effectively.
A standing desk can help you manage your stress. In fact, with a standing desk, you can avoid the stress of meeting deadlines and getting the report in on time. A standing desk reduces anxiety and improves task management. As your brain becomes more active, you become more efficient at work and deadlines seem further away than they actually are.
Being able to stimulate brain function while standing at work increases your productivity and efficiency. When you are standing from time to time at work, you are unconsciously paying attention to your body's balance and muscle use. This prevents your thoughts from wandering. Everyone benefits from better performance, which leads to greater creativity.
6. Relaxes muscles, stretching and maintaining flexibility
Sitting in the same position for a long period of time, with many inactive muscles, can lead to the collapse and even the reduction of certain muscles, and your flexibility. Indeed, we quickly tend to feel less flexible and stiff when spending long hours sitting, even in the best ergonomic chair in the world.
A standing desk not only allows you to stretch your legs, but also your arms and your back, allowing you to get out of the seated position on a regular basis, while stretching your abs, legs and buttocks that are inactive when you are seated. Moreover, thanks to the standing desks under desk storage, and under desk drawers, you can easily keep and reach your important documents or gadgets.
It is therefore clear that the use of a standing desk allows you to constantly stretch and remain flexible, even while sitting in front of a desk throughout the day.
How do you know which type of standing desk to choose?
It all depends on what you want to do with it and how often you use it! Manual standing desks have the advantage of being much less expensive than electric standing desks. However, manual sit-stand desks are often described as much less convenient than their electric counterparts.
The reason? Raising and lowering a desk manually is more time-consuming and less precise than doing it electrically. As a result, many owners of manual standing desks end up not using this feature at all. If you need to change the height of your desk on a regular basis, it is therefore advisable to opt for an electric standing desk.
On the other hand, if you want to move the location of your desk regularly, it is advisable to go for manual desks, which are lighter and more mobile than an electric desk. Moreover, they are silent, so you can place them anywhere in the house! Need more advice on which to choose? Read our full guide on Electric vs Manual Standing Desks.
The bottom line is that having a standing desk means fewer health problems from sitting and more productivity so you can end the day on a high note and feel relaxed in the evening. It's a great way to help you achieve the perfect work-life balance.