As people are becoming more aware of their fitness levels and ways in which they can stay healthy, standing desks have increased in popularity because those who have previously had to sit behind a desk all day can now choose to stand instead which feels like a more active option.
There has been plenty of scientific research carried out on the advantages and disadvantages of standing desks, and whether using one comes with more health benefits than sitting down, so people know exactly what to expect if they decide to make the switch.
There are a number of health risks associated with prolonged periods of sitting, such as an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even early death in extreme cases. In addition to this, people who spend all day sitting behind a desk can be more prone to obesity due to burning fewer calories than those who are on the move.
Although standing may not burn as many calories as walking does, it has been found that standing for an afternoon can burn up to 210 more calories than sitting, which would add up to almost 1000 calories a week if someone were to use a standing desk every afternoon.
Standing desks have also been shown to help reduce both lower and upper back pain and neck pain which are all commonly associated with sitting down all day.
Opting for a standing desk can give you better posture over time as standing up will help to improve your core strength, and you are likely to feel less tired throughout the day as it is far more difficult to become sleepy while on your feet.
Although there are plenty of advantages associated with standing desks, there are some disadvantages to consider too before you decide to change how you work.
Getting used to a standing desk can take time. People who use standing desks can suffer from back leg and foot pain due to putting pressure on these body parts for longer periods of time.
Standing at your desk all day is not the same as doing exercise, so just because you are not sitting down for hours anymore is doesn’t mean that you can quit doing cardio as this is still very important if you want to stay healthy.
If up until this point most of your working day has been sent sat in a chair, you cannot immediately go from sitting down all day to standing up instead. Your body will take time to adjust, otherwise you risk straining muscles and feeling very uncomfortable.
Try switching between standing and sitting in short periods throughout the day, gradually increasing the time you spend standing for up to half of the working day.
It has been found that blood sugar levels drop back to normal after eating quicker when the individual is standing up rather than sitting down, which is why using a standing desk in the afternoon has even more added benefits.
Neither standing nor sitting alone are good for our health, an even when switching between the two you may still feel discomfort. Take regular screen breaks and go for a short walk around your office to feel more refreshed throughout the day.
Whether sitting or standing, it's important that your desk is set up correctly for the working day. This includes positioning your screen so that it is just above the resting eye level to prevent slouching which can make the issue worse.
An anti-fatigue mat can help to eliminate the pains caused by standing by providing support for the knees, hips, and ankles as it will cushion your feet while you work which is far better for your body than if you were to be standing on a flat office carpet or wooden floor.
Working at a standing desk can be distracting, especially at the start as it will take some getting used to. You will find that you can see more of the office than when you were sitting down and will probably be aware of the fact that people can see you and what you are doing better too. For this reason, it is advisable that you sit down when you need to concentrate on something.
With important advantages and disadvantages associated with standing desks, it is easy to see why people would opt for one if they have the choice. It is just important to consider the issues that come with standing for prolonged periods of time and how these can be minimised should you wish to take a stand rather than a seat at work in the future.