We've heard it all before, prolonged sitting is bad for your health. It even has been branded 'the new' smoking'. Let's have a look at the advantages of standing, walking, pedalling and movement overall to both your health and mental welfare.
Looking at the time spent seated by a majority of the population you'll see most of the time is spent on sitting at a desk. British people sit 8.9 hours per day on average.
The benefits of standing work versus seated work
- The use of a standing desk minimises the risk of obesity and weight gain. You gain weight if you take in more calories than you burn. Most calories you burn while using the energy your body needs in order to survive. The process of turning food into energy is called metabolism. Every individual has a varied metabolism based on body length and composition, race, age, genetics, hormones and nutrition. This means every person has his or her own calorie intake in order for the body to survive. This can even vary on a day to day basis, depending on sleep quality, level of stress and physical exercise.
Weight gain is simply put, an extra calorie intake on top of the calorie intake that's required for the metabolism that are not being burned by physical exercise but storage by your body and turned into fat. Physical exercise is the most effective way to burn superfluous calories. Studies have produced different results about the amount of calories you'll burn using a standing desk to work. Most studies claim you'll burn 20 to 40 more calories per hour standing at a standing desk than you would working sitting down.
Standing work can lower the risk of heart disease and decrease the bood sugar and the cholesterol By choosing standing over being seated you'll lower your blood sugar and weight (mentioned above), which will lower the risk of heart disease. If your body doesn't move on a regular basis and keeps still all the time, it will lose its ability to use the blood sugar efficiently.
- Standing desks help to prevent lower backache Prolonged sitting can do serious damage to the lower back and other joints and muscles. Simply put, our bodies weren't built to be seated for long periods in a row. Our bodies are built to move around and exercise.
At a chair your body is seated in a static posture which increases the load on your back, shoulders, arms and neck. These disadvantageous effects only gets worse without the right ergonomic position.
A study was performed in which 23 office employees with different ages and body weights used a standing desk and alternated between seated and standing work at a 8-hour working day. The study concluded that varying between seated and standing work led to a 31,8% decrease in lower backache. If they would have keep spending their 8-hour working day seated this would not have been the case. Switching from a traditional desk to a standing desk eases the pain caused by or worsened by prolonged sitting
- Standing desks can boost the creativity and productivity Standing upright increases the blood flow and blood circulation. It's less effective than walking or pedaling but it does improve your creativity, productivity and energy. A study done by Cornell stated that 82% of the participants were in favor of using a standing desk because it combats joint and muscle ache and fosters their productivity.
- Standing straight improves your mood and boosts your energy level The 'Take-a-stand' project was implemented int0 an office setting with the intent to reduce sitting time and to improve the health of the employees. The project was carry out in a 7-week period and led to a decrease of 66 minutes less sitting time on a daily basis (224%). This diminished backache and neck pain with 54% and improved the overaal state of mind of the employees. It's time to make a stand for your health.
The use of a standing desk reduces the risk of obesity and heart disease, lowers the blood sugar and the cholesterol, reduces muscle and joint ache, increases productivity and creativity, improves the state of mind and boosts the energy level. Implementing a standing desk or a desk bike offers you a lot of benefits. There's no better time to put your health first and to integrate movement at your workplace. Go for it!