Over the last few decades, we have made many changes to our lifestyle on behalf of our health and wellbeing. Much like other societal shifts before it, such as healthy eating and regular exercise, standing desks can transform the way we live day to day for the benefit of our minds and bodies. All it requires is a small change in mindset. Researchers have continued to study how long periods of sitting affect our bodies (and mind) and find new benefits to breaking away from sedentary routines, both at home and in the office. Here are some of their findings.
5 Ways Standing Desks can improve your physical health
The first 5 reasons focus on the benefits to physical health, based on the research of a range of experts and published recently in the Washington Post, Combined these benefits can transform your general health and well-being through a small change to your lifestyle.
#1 To improve your posture
When sitting for a long time we inevitably slump over, causing strain to our neck, shoulders and back. Tight back muscles can accentuate the natural curve in your body’s spine. Standing straightens out the body, requiring us to use our core to support our weight leading to better posture.
#2 To engage your muscles and maintain core Strength
As you can imagine, when you don’t use your muscles all day they start to degenerate. Standing is a weight bearing activity that uses a lot of muscles in your body with most of the work going to your quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius. By standing you can develop and maintain your body’s strength.
#3 To improve your circulation
Circulation is important to many aspects of your health. In extreme cases poor circulation can lead to varicose veins and further complications. Most importantly, improved circulation increases the blood flow to your brain improves cognitive activity.
#4 To decrease the risk of obesity and heart disease
When standing, you burn fat quicker than when sitting. Burning more calories means reducing the amount of fatty acids in your arteries and around your heart to decrease the risk of obesity and heart disease.
#5 To reduce the risk of Diabetes
When your muscles aren’t active, they are less responsive to insulin which is produced by the pancreas. As such, the pancreas overproduces insulin, which can eventually lead to diabetes. By standing you can engage your muscles allowing the pancreas to function normally.
5 Ways standing Desks Can help Improve Your Mental Health.
Everyone is familiar with the brain fog and fuzziness that can creep up mid-morning before lunch or in the long afternoons. As you can imagine, improving your physical health coincides with huge improvements to your mental health and well-being. Here are some of the reasons a standing desk can benefit your mental health.
#6 To improve focus, concentration and cognitive functions
Improving circulation to your brain has proven to provide a ‘boost’ to cognitive function, as recently reported in Forbes. When standing you are better able to plan your next steps, problem solve and sustains your working memory.
#7 To improve emotional health
Studies have shown that sitting for long periods each day statistically makes you more likely to become depressed. Those who are more active and less sedentary are generally happier.
#8 To reduce stress levels
Being active releases endorphins that make you feel good and reduce your stress levels. Standing whilst working and doing small exercises at regular intervals will reduce the chances of becoming stressed.
#9 To be more engaged
Standing instead of sitting for long periods has been shown to make people feel more engaged with their, work, their environment and the people around them. Being more active with your body can naturally lead to a more active mind.
#10 To keep a positive attitude
The way you hold your body defines the way you feel. Standing, particularly in ‘power poses’ or with good posture changes the way you feel in your body and has been shown to improve moods of workers as reported in LifeHacker.
According to the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, an affiliate of the American Psychiatric Foundation, a mentally healthy workforce is good for business. To keep the mind sharp, active and focused throughout the work day.
As the workplace continues to evolve and more and more data comes to light on how ergonomics and office design affect everything from employee health to mental and emotional wellbeing, the marketplace is coming up with more and more solutions to help organizations reach optimal health, efficiency and profitability.
Standing desks are the next evolution of 21st-century office design by incorporating science and hard data on human health and productivity. And the changes don't have to happen overnight. Evidence shows that gradually incorporating a standing option with sitting throughout the day is the best option to help employees adapt. Although the guidelines differ from study to study, most experts recommend alternating between sitting and standing for fixed periods of time until the body adapts. The optimal amount may be every 30 minutes for some, or longer periods like an hour and a half to prevent breaking up periods of flow and productivity. Transforming your approach to office culture can lead to a huge shift in the productivity, health and well-being of you and all your employees, all it requires is a small change in mindset.
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