Why Choose a Standing Desk?
Thinking about installing a standing desk for your own office space? Take a look at some of the reasons why you should.
Less Obesity Risk
Leading standing desk researcher, James Levine of the Mayo Clinic, conducted a study on a group of office workers. The participants all added 1,000 calories to their daily intake and were asked not to change any exercise or movement habits. Some of the workers gained weight while others did not. Curious as to what was making the difference, Levine and his team sewed sensors into the undergarments of the workers to track daily movement. What they found was that the group not gaining weight actually sat much less than the other workers. Even if they were just standing to stretch or walk to the bathroom, the group that did not experience weight gain sat 2.25 hours less than their peers.
Levine is quick to point out that standing is just the start. To really experience optimal health, sedentary workers must actually walk around more. But a standing desk is a start (and standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting anyway).
Reduced Cancer Risk
Breast cancer and colon cancer are the ones that appear most related to lack of physical activity. A study from 2011 reported that 43,000 cases of colon cancer and 49,000 cases of breast cancer annually are caused by prolonged sitting. Though the cases weren’t as conclusive, the same study reported that ovarian, prostate, lung, and endometrial cancer also showed a strong connection to prolonged sitting. There is not a definitive answer as to why sitting appears to cause these types of cancer, but it’s possible that increases in C-reactive protein, found in people who sit for long periods of time, is the culprit.
It makes sense that mortality may rise since sitting too much is related to cancer, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Consider the findings from this 2011 study: Americans increase their life expectancy two years by reducing the sitting time from the standard six hours to just three hours per day, instead.
If you want to improve your posture and reduce eye strain, a standing desk is a smart option. It’s important to set it up the right way, though. Your computer screen should sit just above resting eye level, so you have to look up slightly to see it. This keeps you from hunching over or slouching as you tap away on your keyboard. The simple act of standing will also improve your core strength, leading to better overall posture.
Important Standing Desk Considerations
Standing desks are beneficial for our health but there are some things to keep in mind as we make the transition.
1. Start Slow
Don’t try to go from six hours of sitting to zero overnight. As mentioned earlier, aim to sit just three of your waking hours each day. Start with just 20 minutes at a time at your standing desk. Add more and more time until you are comfortable. Standing on our feet may not sound like a lot of work. Since we are sitting the majority of the day, we strain ourselves from standing too often and too fast.
2. Use a Mat
Take it easy on your knees, hips, and ankles by using a gel mat where you plan to stand. Take it a step further and wear non-slip, supportive shoes, too.
3. Face the Adjustment Head-On
If standing is too distracting to do work, use your sitting times when you need that extra concentration. You may find the standing desk a little distracting at first, but you’ll likely adjust and learn to refocus with time.
4. Set it Up Right
Your computer screen should sit 15 to 30 inches from your eyes, with your eye level even with (or slightly below) your screen. Keep your wrists flat and your elbows at a 90-degree angle. If you feel like any part of your body is straining while you are standing then you need to make adjustments to make it more comfortable.
Standing does burn more calories than sitting but to really see optimal health benefits make sure you are walking throughout the workday, too. The American Heart Association suggests 10,000 steps per day at a minimum. Buy a pedometer or a fitness tracker and add in steps where you see fit during the day. Look for creative ways to do other exercises during the workday, too, that stretch your muscles and keep your circulation and metabolism going.
Simply follow these easy to comprehend steps and be on your way to better health, a prolonged lifespan, and a truly elevated life. #GoodbyeSittingDisease