It seems like every person has an opinion on either sitting or standing during the workday and you have got a lot of different opinions. Is standing better than sitting? The latest research shows that yes, sitting really is bad for you, and standing might just be the key. To finally answer the question, is standing better than sitting, we need to examine not just the research, but also your own lifestyle.
Just because the research says that you need to buy an office desk doesn’t mean that standing all the time can work for your specific lifestyle. First, let’s look at why people say that sitting is so bad for you. Is standing healthier than sitting anyway?
All About Energy Expenditure
Energy expenditure is the amount of energy that your body needs to do certain things. The body needs the energy to digest food, help you stay awake and alert, and to perform vital functions such as keeping you breathing and your heart beating. Since the dawn of humankind, humans were forced to move, hunt, fight, and be very active in order to keep themselves alive.
As time went on, humans gradually became more sedentary, until we get to ‘now’ where we spend 8-10 hours a day in front of the computer. This takes a massive toll on our bodies, where we are suffering bad posture, poor sleep, and other health problems because we just can expend energy correctly.
Plus, although the evidence has not been concrete, studies such as the Whitehall II cohort study have shown some link between excessive sitting and diseases. Incident diabetes was found to be slightly higher in people who sat a lot vs those who performed some type of activity.
The Benefits of Simply Standing
While it might seem a little far-fetched to believe that standing during the workday can really provide a lot of benefits, the data backs it up. According to the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, which studied over 650 cases on sitting vs standing at work, they found that standing allowed for the burning of more calories. According to these results, a 65 kg person can burn an extra 54 calories a day just by standing for 6 hours.
Is standing better than sitting? Standing doesn’t just stop excess weight gain, but it also can improve your posture. One of the benefits of a standing desk includes a strong stand up desk frame that naturally guides your body to have good posture. A straightened back and spine can do wonders for back pain and can improve the way you carry yourself.
1. Incorporating Standing Into Your Workday
Now that you know all the benefits of standing vs sitting in the workplace, you should be asking yourself how to start standing more during the workday. It might seem easy when you think about it, but it certainly takes a lot of getting used to.
If you can purchase a standing desk, especially one with an ergonomic design, then you should do so. They are designed for your comfort and health in mind, and it is much easier to stand with them. If you keep your sitting desk and then have to engage in a standing desk vs sitting desk tug of war, you might find yourself sitting more than you should.
Even with a sitting desk, you should engage in a sit stand session, even if it is only for a few minutes during your breaks. One easy way to remind yourself to stand is by using the Pomodoro technique. You can sit for 25 minutes and then stand and stretch for your breaks. A brisk walk around the office or a few simple stretches can reinvigorate you and get the blood flowing again.
2. Getting Used To Standing At Your Desk
Is standing better than sitting? Going from standing at desk vs sitting is a difficult task for even the most determined of us. A perfectly designed standing desk is one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal, but even that doesn’t make the first few days any less uncomfortable.
If you are having trouble adjusting to working standing up for long periods of time, do your best to take frequent breaks. Just like anything else, this is a skill that requires muscle. Even if you only stand for the first 15 minutes of the day while you check your emails, that can sometimes be enough to start increasing your tolerance for it.
While standing and performing a task that you need to concentrate on can be daunting, you can try to stand while doing some busywork instead. Check emails, make a phone call, listen to a podcast, or read an article. If you can pair these activities with some light walking around you can get the benefits of standing desk and can start training yourself to stand on some more intensive tasks.
The Final Answer
Is standing better than sitting? Yes, yes it is. If you can incorporate standing into your life at some point throughout the day, you should start to see some benefits. Even if you just feel better about not needing a chair to work, you should be better.
The research shows that there is a connection between standing and health problems later in life, that standing can combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and that standing burns more energy. While standing instead of sitting for the next six hours won’t change your life overnight, it can pave the pathway for some real long-term benefits.
Whether you get a standing desk or just start standing more during breaks, try to get on your feet during the workday. Your body should certainly thank you for it in the long term.
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