Let’s explore the benefits of a standing desk, but before we do, what’s our current office routine like?
I can imagine, it’s much the same as mine. You arrive, head to your desk, set down your bag and remove your coat. Instantly you’re seated and without realising it, the morning has gone by and you notice the smell of lunches and the hubbub of chatter at lunch time. This is possibly the first time you stand in four hours and move around for a greater distance than from your desk to the printer.
These days, I don’t even stand to go to a colleague’s desk, I simply push off with my feet and slide. Weee!
While this is great fun and chairs are now more comfortable with their ergonomic design, it’s hard to fight the feeling that it’s not such a natural or healthy way to spend the day.
This sedentary lifestyle is leaving us all more exhausted even though we have exerted no energy and leaves us unhealthier in both our minds and bodies. So what’s the alternative?
Many companies have introduced the idea of standing desks. This is a tall table with all the essential things you need, placed on top of your desk. The only difference you’ll notice is that you are standing. Let’s explore the health benefits of a standing desk so you can decide if it’s something you’d like to trial in your office or go right ahead and implement immediately.
Reduced risk of obesity
With our waistlines on an ever expanding adventure, it’s time to think about ways we can combat this with some small steps like a standing desk.
Standing burns 50 calories more per hour than sitting and while standing is only the start, workers must be moving around more to really combat the risks of obesity, it’s a good start to make.
Reduced cancer risk
Breast cancer and colon cancer are most commonly related to lack of exercise and physical activity. Prolonged sitting can increase your chances of contracting such a disease. While there is no definite answer or study into this, it is important to note the correlation. So why not take the steps needed and install a standing desk, it certainly won’t cause any harm.
A longer, fitter life
Given the above two points, a standing desk could drastically affect the longevity of your life. Life expectancy increased by two years in Americans who reduced their seated time from six to three hours per day. Now that’s definitely worth it.
We all complain that our backs hurt, it’s a chronic problem for many. And while your first instinct is to order a footrest or backrest to relieve you of this pain, it isn’t going to solve the problem in the long run.
Standing, however, could change this. It’s important that the set up is correct and your screen is positioned just above resting eye level so you have to look up slightly to see it. This prevents hunching your back and shoulders and stops you from slouching (something we are all guilty of).
If you are going to experiment with this, there are a few things to consider.
Don’t try to go from all day sitting to 0 hours sitting. This will cause you some strain on the body if you go all in on day one. The recommendation is to start with 20 minutes in each hour to begin with and then add on time each day. Extend to 30 minutes standing and 30 minutes seated until you can manage one-hour standing and 20 minutes seated.
Wear non-slip supportive shoes. It might mean a dress code change in the office as you switch from smart shoes to trainers or comfortable, but somewhat dorky shoes, but it will be worth it. It will also enable your load bearing feet to have some extra support.
Ensure the computer screen is at a suitable distance, around 15 – 30 inches from your eyes and the top of the screen rests slightly above eye level to avoid slouching.
Move, don’t become glued to the spot. A standing desk is meant to encourage more movement and more free communication with colleagues, as you will be standing already, there’s no need to send an email.
What’s the future?
So for now, we’re thinking about standing desks, but the future of desks is set to become more physical. A treadmill desk could be the next big thing. Or even a static bike so you can move slowly throughout the day while you work.
Certainly, could shave off time from the gym and give you more sleep in the morning or the pleasure of a relaxed evening at home instead of at the gym trying to fight all the sitting you did during the day.
Do you stand at work? Will you be looking to implement this in your office?
Leave a comment below letting us know what you think.