The rave about standing desks has emerged out of the mounting evidence that shows how sitting for long periods of time can be hazardous to your health. If you have started using a standing desk to ward off the damaging effect of sitting for hours on end and reap the benefits of standing for more hours, then you should take a bow.
But just as sitting for prolonged hours can be harmful to our health, so is standing still for many hours. You need to make sure you are using your standing desk in the best possible way.
Few additions to your standing desk will complement your overall experience and make standing at your desk healthier and more fun. A treadmill desk will definitely help you burn more calories and increase your daily step count but, honestly, it is unreasonable to assume that you will walk most of your workday, not to mention its steep price.
A better yet affordable alternative to treadmill desks is balance boards. They are fun, cheap, and help you stay focused. A balance board that has been designed to use with a standing desk can offer you multiple benefits.
You have probably noticed that after some time of sitting at your desk, you start to sink into your chair. Then only when your neck or back starts to ache that you notice your drooping figure. That’s probably one reason why you started using a standing desk in the first place. Likewise, when you stand for hours on end, your shoulders sag. Your bodyweight may shift unevenly on your feet.
A balance board will prevent you from leaning towards one side of your body and neglecting the other. This can result in a muscle imbalance. Engaging your muscles to stay balanced will help you develop flexibility and balance. It will help you become aware of your posture, as opposed to standing still, and correct it. Can you imagine getting slouchy while standing on a balance board without realizing it? Very unlikely.
Mini workouts pay off big
This is not to say that a balance board can replace your gym training but every little bit of exercise adds up. Standing still or even worse, sitting for many painstaking hours is not what our bodies are made for. This lifestyle is not doing us any favor. Unsurprisingly, our bodies keep giving us countless signs to make adjustments.
The kind of workout a balance board that is designed for a standing desk offers is adequate for most people. That is because it is low-impact, meaning that it gives you the benefit of exercise minus the risk of injury.
A study led by the Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory at the University of Idaho, measuring how effective it was to stand on a balance board while working, has concluded that using a balance board may increase energy expenditure “without interfering with productivity.”
Stronger core, less back pain
A strong core is key to reduce lower back pain. Much of back pain is a result of postural alignment issues. In order to avoid back pain or reverse it, if caught early, you need to strengthen the muscles that support your spine. These are your core muscles. When they are strong enough, they reduce the strain on your back thus alleviating or, even better, preventing pain.
When you use a balance board, you engage in what are known as “stabilization exercises” which involve your core muscles and significantly improve your balance.
A Balance board will keep you more alert
I can hardly imagine anyone who can zone out while they are on a balance board. Not only because they will lose balance but also because being in a constant state of light motion will improve their blood flow. As your heart pumps more blood throughout your body, your mind will stay alert and focused.
How to choose the right balance board for a standing desk?
A balance board is something you use while you work. That means that you need to pick one that is not too distracting or requires much of your focus to remain balanced.
Balance board size: The size of the board’s deck is an important factor to take into consideration and is mostly a personal preference. Generally, the bigger the board, the more space you will have to stand comfortably. For example, if you are tall then a longer and wider deck will be a better fit.
Low-impact board: Some balance boards are just not designed for the office. A balance board is meant to help you move a little in a nonintrusive way while you work. A low impact board will require you to be alert enough to keep your balance without putting too much effort into it.
Tilting degree: This ties in with the impact of the balance board that we have just mentioned. The higher the tilting degree, the more challenging it will be to keep your balance. Not only can this be counterproductive but it also poses a risk of injury when it makes it hard for you to stay balanced. The tilt of your board should correspond to your level of fitness and how comfortable you are using balance boards.
Your budget: The price of a standing desk balance board can be wide-ranging. When you have weighed in all the other elements, the final decision usually boils down to your budget. In some cases, you will find products with astonishingly higher prices that essentially offer the same value as lower-priced brands. So make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
It may be true that life has had us working and living in ways that are not the best fit for our biological makeup. The good thing is that it is not all or nothing. Small changes can go a long way. Subtle tweaking as adding a balance board to your standing desk can take you a step further towards a healthier life without making drastic deviations from your daily routine.
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