Prolonged sitting has been called “new smoking” lately. Smoking causes respiratory disorders but sitting can cause disorders in many body parts. From mere back pain to hazards like cardiovascular problems and cancers are the risks caused by sitting. During this era, the physical work of many people has been reduced. Office-based or home-based jobs are preferred that have long sitting hours. We need to change this lifestyle and must upgrade to standing desks. Standing desks are much better than sitting desks.
Here is the list of some major health benefits of using standing desks:
Reduces Neck and Back Pain
Prolonged sitting is often associated with poor posture which puts strain on the neck and the lower back causing intense pain and sometimes inflammation and stiffness. Slouching, bending for picking up work essentials, and keeping the screen above or below eye level cause a lot of injuries. Fortunately, these injuries can be prevented by using a standing desk. While standing it is easy to maintain an upright posture resulting in no strain on the neck and back and no injuries.
Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
According to WHO, 422 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes worldwide among whom 1.5 million die each year. Even with an enormous number of deaths, the number of cases is still rising. Among the causes of diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle is at the top of the list. Sitting for long periods of time and not getting enough physical exercise increases blood sugar levels. But this metabolic disease can be controlled by spending more hours standing and exercising. Office ergonomics can play a major role here. Upgrade your office environment with standing desks and don’t become a victim of diabetes. In fact, the effect of these desks has been demonstrated in a trial in which people used to alternate between sitting and standing and were found to have 11.1% lower blood sugar spikes.
Reduces the Risk of Heart Diseases
CDC reported that one person dies every 36 seconds in the US due to cardiovascular problems. Correspondingly, WHO claimed cardiovascular diseases to be the cause of 32% of deaths each year worldwide. In the same report, WHO accused physical inactivity of the leading cause of these diseases. Sitting all day long can cause several problems in blood circulation. The parts of the body that are not getting any mobility have less demand for blood thus affecting heart health. The relationship between heart diseases and a sedentary lifestyle was first observed when bus conductors were found to have lower risks of these diseases as compared to their fellow bus drivers who used to sit and drive for long periods of time. You probably want a longer life, so the key is to reduce some of the sitting time and practice standing more. It is possible by buying a standing desk whether you have an office-based job or work from home.
Lowers the Risk of Cancer
A direct relation between cancer and a sedentary lifestyle has yet not been established but an indirect way is there to demonstrate it. Prolonged sitting increases the level of C-reactive proteins in the body. In a normal state, these proteins are produced in small amounts at the inflammation site signaling that the specific part has got an issue. But the amount can rise due to physical inactivity. Now consider the study that has called elevated levels of C-reactive proteins an indicator of epithelial cancers. It includes ovarian, breast, lung, liver, and colon cancer. Standing desks offer you prevention from cancer. It allows you to move and increase your motility and can decrease the risks of cancer to a great extent.
Bonus: Boosts Energy and Productivity
Physical health is directly associated with mental health. Let’s just suppose the condition of a person suffering from cancer. He knows he will have loads of hospital bills to pay which don’t even assure him of good health later. Will such a person be able to focus on his work? In contrast to it, there’s a Latin phrase saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” If you are enjoying great physical health, you are more likely to focus on your work as compared to your colleagues. So, standing desks give double benefits by boosting productivity. Moreover, you can do some stretches during your break as they alleviate tiredness and give a burst of energy.
How to Get All These Benefits?
Some people are unable to get the above-mentioned health benefits because they don't know the proper use of standing desks. Just buying a standing desk is not enough, you need to know the following things:
Correct Your Posture
Posture is not only important while sitting but it also matters while standing. The first mistake made by many people while buying a standing desk is not considering the height. Standing at a desk whose desktop is either higher or lower than your elbow can cause certain arm problems. Ideally, the elbow should be making a 90 degrees angle with the tabletop. Keep the monitor at eye level so that you don’t have to lower your gaze which can cause neck pain. To prevent eye strain keep your distance from the screen. Ideally, the distance should be approximately equal to the size of the screen. Keep the arms closer to the body. In case, you are working on a laptop, keeping the arms closer to the body and keeping the screen at a distance would not be possible, so use a separate keyboard and mouse. Similarly, standing still at the same place in the same position can result in enormous weight on heels causing them pain. It would be great to shift the body weight from one leg to another after some time. Walking around the desk would be thoughtful. Don’t wear high heels and make use of anti-fatigue mats.
Know the Desk Ergonomics
Besides the way you stand at your desk, the way your desk is designed also matters. It should be height adjustable allowing you to elevate or lower it as per need. It must have enough space to accommodate all your work essentials. So consider the width and the depth of the desk before buying. Keep all the things that you will need often in your access. If you bend forward for fetching your things, not only you will lose focus but will also have neck pain. Use a standing desk stool to support your back and work in a neutral position.
Prolonged sitting is associated with a number of diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancer, and neck and back pain. You can prevent almost all of these diseases by getting rid of the lifestyle that gives you physical inactivity. Though exercising is not possible within an office environment but you can definitely reduce your sitting time by using standing desks. These desks allow you to stand and move your body resulting in improved circulation and regulated blood sugar levels. They also reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. As an additional benefit, these desks can boost your productivity levels. But to get these benefits you must know their proper use including your posture and the desk ergonomics.