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Something well known to everyone is that a physically active lifestyle is essential to everyone’s well-being as it can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. However, people who sit for extended periods at their desk job often have a sedentary behavior detrimental to their health. Many studies show that this behavior is associated with multiple health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes.
For that reason and others, alternatives to typical desks such as standing desks have become more prevalent in many workplaces and home offices. The ergonomic health benefits of a standing desk are countless compared to simply continuing to work while sitting at your desk-bound job. If you’ve ever suffered from back pain while working or worry about your health, then you should consider getting a standing desk.
With a new product or concept popping up in the market, there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding it. Some are too unconvinced of the actual benefits, while some are sure that it is just another ruse to make you spend money. Though the popularity and benefits of standing desks are backed by many scientific arguments that have convinced many people to opt for a standing desk as their ultimate way of working, the question of “does standing desk burn calories” finally has resulted in a unanimous affirmative.
Along with the standing desk advantages and enjoying standing desk health benefits, it is also equally important to realize that standing desks are only helpful when applied, used and researched properly. Since staying in the same position for your body is harmful and stressful, whether sitting or standing, you need to learn all about using a standing desk in your workplace. Below is an extensive guide on how to make the most of standing while working and the types of posture to avoid or practice while using a standing desk.
What Is a Standing Desk?
Standing desks, which are also referred to as height-adjustable desks, sit-stand desks, or stand-up desks, is essentially a desk that lets you draw, write, and work while standing up or using a high stool. There are several different types, which allows you to get the one that fits your office and budget the best. The mental health benefit of the standing desk and the physical ones are just some of the advantages that this desk provides over your regular office desks.
How Standing Desks Help Your Mental and Physical Health
Are standing desks good for your health? Working for long hours while sitting puts people’s health at risk due to the sedentary life it enforces. As an office worker, you may not have a choice in the matter while you’re at work, but you may even spend your evening at home sitting as well.
When you begin fixing that sedentary habit by investing in a standing desk, you considerably reduce some of the risks associated with it, such as obesity, weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes. The mental health benefit of a standing desk is also plentiful, as it considerably improves your work satisfaction.
If that still doesn’t convince you that a standing desk is worth it, you only need to look a little bit further to be wholly convinced. Here are nine true health benefits of a standing desk:
1. Reduces the Risk of Weight Gain and Obesity
Nearly everybody knows that you gain weight by consuming more calories than you can burn. Contrarily, you can also lose weight whenever you burn more calories than you consume. If you work while standing instead of sitting, you can reduce the risk of weight gain and obesity by burning some extra calories each hour you work.
Those calories you burn can pile up over time, and if you were to do so over an entire year, the amount of burnt calories becomes quite notable. If you want to enhance this physical standing desk advantage, you can incorporate some standing desk exercises while working. For example, if you march in place, you can burn up to 225 calories per hour while stimulating your brain activity, making you more productive and energetic.
2. May Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Lowering your blood sugar levels is another health benefit of a standing desk. Whenever you have a meal, your blood sugar can increase quite a bit. The more it does, the worse it can be for your health. People that have insulin resistance or diabetes are even more at risk.
Fortunately, a standing-based office work study showed that you could significantly reduce the sugar spike after lunch by 43% by standing for three hours after the meal. This is in comparison to people who were sitting for the same amount of time. Switching between sitting and standing throughout the workday on a 30-minute interval after lunch break also reduces the blood sugar spike by 11% on average.
There may even be a link between these effects and how excessive sedentary time links to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. If you want to be on the safe side, get a standing desk and implement a sit-stand routine, especially after meals.
3. May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
The notion that standing is better than sitting is something that’s been studied for a long time now. In particular, a study in 1953 found that bus conductors who sit throughout the day had twice the chance of dying from heart diseases than coworkers who had been standing during the whole day.
Since then, it has been a matter of constant study, but now there is a greater understanding of the matter. Frequently sitting for an extended time can significantly increase the risk of heart disease. If you spend your entire day sitting, even an hour of intense exercise may not compensate for the negative effect it has.
There isn’t any doubt that spending more time standing is beneficial for you. The physical standing desk health benefit, in this case, is tremendous.
4. Improves Circulation
Another great physical standing desk health benefit is that it improves your circulation, which can lead to other health benefits. Choosing to stand at your desk lets you have a better blood flow compared to when you’re sitting. Whenever you work in an upright position, your circulation to your extremities significantly improves.
Sitting, on the other hand, can slow it down or impede it. It can lead to several health problems like blood clots, varicose veins, swollen ankles, and more. Remember to stand, stretch, and do a slight jog in place every hour if you want to enjoy the health benefits of a standing desk thoroughly.
5. Reduces Neck and Back Pain
If you have a desk-bound job, the chances are that you’ve experienced some degree of back pain. When you sit for prolonged times, you apply pressure on your lower back, straining yourself and possibly developing a worse condition if left unchecked.
You can also get neck pains If your monitor display isn’t in the proper position, as it may cause you to tilt your head to see it correctly. If you have a poor sitting posture and don’t have enough ergonomic support, you may aggravate the strain to both your neck and lower back.
This physical benefit of a standing desk primarily comes from its ergonomic design. It helps to prevent neck and back pain. It helps you by making a change in your usually repetitive daily work cycle. When you promote a dynamic posture by standing up for a while every now and then, you can mitigate the strain you endure on your back, neck, and shoulders from sitting for extended periods.
It may not immediately eliminate your back pains, but if you make sure to have the correct posture while standing and sitting, it’s only a matter of time.
6. Improves Mood and Increases Energy
It’s nearly impossible to get through a week unscathed when you’re sitting and working grueling hours from beginning to end. When you remain in that repetitive sedentary position, you subject your body to stress, become more fatigued, and you may even start to feel unmotivated. It might surprise you how much investing in a standing desk and changing your work posture can affect your mood, overall energy, and well-being.
The mental health benefit of a standing desk, along with the physical advantages, become numerous when you begin a regular sit-stand session schedule. It provides significant relief to your body, helps you prevent fatigue, and reduces the psychological distress you feel on those tough days. The reason is that by standing, you can release some of the tension piling up in your body, boosting your mood and energy and improving your productivity.
7. Raises Productivity
Some people have concerns about how standing desks may slow them down during their jobs, whether they’re typing, writing, or anything related. Luckily, they don’t have any impact on your typical daily tasks. You only need to get used to working with a standing desk.
While the desk itself doesn’t directly affect productivity, it can improve your mood, energy, and well-being, indirectly influencing it. If you are in a good mood and don’t feel back, neck, or shoulder pains, focusing on your task at hand becomes considerably easier. These health benefits of a standing desk let you perform your job more efficiently, which makes you have a more productive workday.
8. Improves Posture
Sitting puts plenty of stress on your spine, even more so if you don’t have a proper posture. Standing can provide some relief to your spine, reducing strain and slightly improving your posture. However, you can’t immediately put the standing desk’s benefits to use.
If you want to enjoy every physical benefit of a standing desk and make your good posture, putting some effort into knowing how to use a sit-stand desk properly is the key. Figuring out a good sitting and standing schedule should be the first thing you do. Standing for a long time Is a quick way to burn yourself out, worsen your posture, and harm yourself after some time.
Initially, you’re looking to incorporate standing into your routine with short periods. Raising your desk for 10 minutes after spending 50 minutes sitting is an excellent start. It gets you moving twice an hour and allows you to enjoy the desk’s benefits. Then, once you start getting accustomed to the desk, you can start changing the ratio.
The schedule varies from person to person. Some people can get adjusted quickly to the desk, while others need to spend more time on it. You may be able to focus more if you work while sitting, while for other people, it may be the exact opposite. Find out your preferences and make a plan that fits you adequately and lets you enjoy every physical benefit of a standing desk.
9. It May Help You Live Longer
The overall physical and mental health benefits of a standing desk lead to a higher life expectancy. When you shorten your sitting time and tackle the problem of a sedentary lifestyle, you are decreasing your risk of suffering from health issues and improving your well-being, which in turn helps you live longer.
How to Use a Standing Desk Correctly?
Standing eliminates the prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle from your work routine by adding the opportunity to work while standing. But are standing desks good for you and won't work while standing for more than six hours a day hurt your legs? Here are some tips for using a standing desk properly.
Alternate Between Sitting and Standing
There is no doubt that sitting for prolonged periods is harmful to your health and many studies suggest that it gives rise to many long term diseases. While sitting, you are also vulnerable to unhealthy postures and slouching hence inactivity while working. On the other hand, standing all day isn't a treat for the body either.
This means that you need to find a perfect balance between sitting and standing throughout the day. The only right way to use a standing desk is to divide your day into periodic schedules of sitting and standing. By getting a perfect balance of standing vs sitting calories, you can soon feel an improvement in overall health.
Adjust your Desk
Ability to stand is one of the remarkable benefits of standing desks. Often, people face trouble using a standing desk or don't experience any improvement because they aren't adjusting it well to the right position. There are some correct guidelines on how to adjust your desk properly. Correct desk height and computer screen placement are critical for increasing comfort and reducing the risk of harm in the workplace.
For an ergonomic working position, adjust your standing desk’s height, around your elbow level. This means that the angle between your elbows and the ground should be a 90 degrees for your arms to be comfortable and in a neutral position. Next, you need to adjust the screen to a minimum of 20 inches from your face. The screen level should match your eye level, so no tilt or inclination is involved.
Using Standing Desk Accessories
Anti-fatigue mats are frequently used in prolonged standing tasks, such as working on a production line or at a counter. Standing tiredness is said to be combated by these mats, which encourage small leg muscle movements. This increases blood flow and alleviates discomfort. Using an anti-fatigue mat for a standing desk is like using a seat cushion for your chair; it prevents your body from experiencing excessive strain.
Taking Frequent Breaks
One way to rest your body while working when you have a lot to manage is using a standing desk. Because with a sit-stand L-shaped desk, you can alternate between sitting and standing; thus, no muscle undergoes prolonged stress. But for active working and healthy work-life balance, mental breaks are equally important as physical breaks.
Hence it would be best to remove yourself from work after a few hours to recharge the mind or freshen it up. The right way is to take a stroll or walk away from your desk for at least 10 minutes three times a day. If you aren’t able to find a place to be away from your desk, standing desk exercises are a wonderful way to recharge your mind and relax your muscles. There are many benefits of practicing the exercise at your workstation, and you can find some easy stretches right at your desk as well.
How to Choose the Right Standing Desk for You?
Though the concept might have started from one place, standing desks are now a part of every other furniture store in the USA and worldwide. Since there are many choices, it is likely true that one gets confused picking out the best type of standing desk for them. Here are some tips for choosing the best standing desk for you.
One cannot depend on a cheap product with poor quality claims for an investment as huge as a standing desk. Thus focusing on quality is the first thing one should do when picking a product as big as a standing desk. Rather than opting for cheap unsung names, it is wise to pick a reputable office furniture manufacturing brand.
Motors are widely used in adjustable height workstations. As a result, when they're turned on, they normally clatter. Check the noise level mentioned on the desk guidelines to ensure your desk doesn't disturb everyone working around you.
Some desks may be preset to various settings, making it simple to achieve the best ergonomics every time. This allows more accurate and easy single touch height adjustment operation. The desks are also suitable for a wider range of people, so each can present their ergonomic height level.
The weight capacity of your table determines the gadgets and accessories you can have on your table. If the weight capacity is too low, you don't have enough room to hang all of your workplace necessities. Decide the type of work setting you will need, whether a single monitor or multi-monitor setup. Choose a desk with a weight capacity a few pounds greater than you need.
Type of Desk
Hand cranks, electric, and pneumatic lifts are all options for raising and lowering desks. The latter two are the quietest, most efficient, and easiest to use. Although electric standing desks are expensive, they are a one-time investment with long term benefits.
- Adjustable Height Desks
These desks can be easily adjusted to accommodate both sitting and standing positions. They typically feature an electric or manual mechanism to change the desk's height according to your preference.
- Standing Desk Converters
These are compact units that can be placed on top of an existing desk. They provide an elevated platform for your computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse, allowing you to work while standing. Standing desk converters are a cost-effective option for those who want to convert their regular desk into a standing desk.
- Fixed Standing Desks
Fixed standing desks have a fixed height and cannot be adjusted. They are designed for users who prefer to work solely in a standing position. It's important to ensure that the height of the desk is ergonomically suitable for your height to maintain proper posture.
- Treadmill Desks
Treadmill desks combine a standing desk with a treadmill, allowing you to walk or even jog while you work. This type of desk promotes movement and can help you stay active throughout the day.
- Mobile Standing Desks
These desks are equipped with wheels or casters, making them easy to move around. They are convenient for people who need flexibility and frequently change their workspace.
- Corner Standing Desks
Corner standing desks are designed to fit into the corner of a room, maximizing the use of available space. They provide a larger work surface and are suitable for individuals who require ample desk space.
Regardless of the type, every standing desk follows one main goal: to let you work while you stand. Most of these desks can improve your ergonomic workspace along with your health and well-being. However, the most basic type of them, a fixed-height standing desk, does not.
The limited functionality of static height standing desks takes away an essential feature that they should have: adjustability. Any health benefit of a standing desk tends to show only when you continuously switch between sitting and standing positions throughout your workday. Regardless, It’s a simple and affordable option, but it would be best to have a backup workspace where you can sit, allowing you to switch at will.
Height-adjustable standing desks come in two types: manual and electric ones. Manually adjustable desks let you change their height whenever you like, but it takes some time and effort to do so.
They are cheaper than electric-powered desks and have fewer meddling pieces overall. There isn’t any variance between the physical health benefit of this standing desk type compared to the electric kind, besides the effort of cranking your desk up and down.
Electric height-adjustable standing desks are the best and most comfortable option out of every type. When people refer to ergonomic standing desks, they are typically referring to this type of desk. Most of these desks allow you to change the height with the push of a button swiftly and quietly. It makes it easy to keep a dynamic posture by changing between sitting and standing positions regularly.
If you have a corner office, you may be interested to know that many standing desks have L-shaped models, whether they’re manual, fixed, or electric, that can adequately fit your workspace. Purchasing the best standing desk you can afford is a worthwhile long-term investment, but if you can’t cover the cost at the moment, a desk riser is more affordable and can be just as helpful.
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