Wondering about the health benefits of using standing desks? Read this article to discover the advantages of stand up desks and why you should make a switch today!
I’m a writer and I sit to write most of the time. Lately, I’ve been having joint issues, body and shoulder pain; I always end the day tired. I never connected my experience to sitting for protracted periods until I read a post by Yaro Starak on why and how he switched to using a stand up desk. It really fascinated me and I quickly searched Google for stand up desks. I was amazed by the incredible information I got and even realised that some famous personalities like Thomas Jefferson had blazed the trail of using standing desks. I honestly have decided to make a switch but I wanted to share my findings with others; hence this article.
In corporate settings, standing desks are in vogue and many people who’ve made the switch say they won’t ever revert to sitting at work.
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Scientists say sitting for long periods is not good for your health. I compiled these dangers of sitting from various scientific studies published over the years.
The Dangers of Sitting for Long Periods
- Danger of Dying Young
A March 2012 study indicated that adults who sat 11 or more hours daily were more likely to die in the next three years compared with those who sat for four hours or less daily. This was after considering their weight, health condition and involvement in physical activities.
The research published in Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that standing up more often may reduce your chances of dying within three years, even if you are already physically active.
- Risk of Contracting Diabetes, Heart Disease and Even Death
Sitting for a long period of time may cause you to contract diabetes, heart disease and even death. An October 2012 research published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association of the Study of Diabetes, made this observation without recourse to any individual physical exercise carried out, suggesting that even if an individual meets the physical activity guidelines, their health may still be at risk if they sit for long periods of time during the day.
Prior to this study, a March 2012 research linked contracting type 2 diabetes to protracted sitting. Researchers, from the University of Leicester Departments of Health Sciences and Cardiovascular Sciences, discovered that women who sit for long periods of time daily are more likely to contract type 2 diabetes, a situation which was not so with men. The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
- Restricts the Circulation of a Fat-Absorbing Enzyme
Researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that sitting for longer periods restricts the circulation of a fat-absorbing enzyme called lipase.
- Makes Exercise Ineffective
Scientists at the American Cancer Society discovered that protracted sitting makes exercise ineffective. They say too much sitting can undo the health benefits of exercise, even if you exercise on a daily basis. So, the only way to avoid the dangers of sitting for long periods is to use a standing desk.
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The Health Benefits of Using Standing Desks
From the dangers of sitting which I just listed, one can safely say the health benefits of using stand up desks include: long life, good health and an excellent immune system (to prevent you from contracting diseases like diabetes, heart disease, etc), good body posture and calorie burnout (sitting, they say, is the ultimate passive activity as you burn more calories chewing gum than you do sitting in your chair!) Can you beat that!
It is necessary therefore to take breaks from long periods of sitting down, by taking a walk during your lunch break and taking a break from work at the computer.
- Long Life
Restricting your sitting time might extend life by an extra two years. Limiting TV watching to less than 2 hours daily may also extend life by almost 1.4 years. This is according to a study published July 2012 in the online journal BMJ.
- Burn Calories and Lose Weight
When you sit, you burn less calories but gain weight. Using a standing desk will help you lose the weight you gain while slouched in a chair for long periods, as you get to move around, engage your muscles and burn more calories.
- To Save Your Back
Years of excessive sitting can take its toll on your back. You’ll agree with me that sitting for longer periods makes us slouch and suffer back pain. Standing up, on the other hand, engages your back muscles and improves your posture. Some individuals who have switched from sitting to using a standing desk have testified that the change healed their back pain.
- To Increase Your Focus and Concentration
Unlike sitting, standing up can increase your focus and concentration. For starters, you don’t get to feel sleepy and put your head down to sleep (there is no desk for that); your muscles are active and you feel less comfortable, so you stay alert. Secondly, you stay active so you can discharge your restless energy. You can move around more and even pace around whenever you feel like it. Creative people say this helps them think on their feet and achieve more than they would have, slouched in a chair. They say it keeps their creative juices flowing and I believe them!
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Famous People Who Use(d) Standing Desks
For mer US president, Thomas Jefferson is possibly the most celebrated user of the standing desk. He used the desk to create great architectural drawings for buildings like the Virginia State Capitol.AsideJefferson, another head of state to support the standing desk movement was Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck. Sir Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, John Dos Passos, Donald Rumsfeld and so many others used stand-up desks. Today, many corporate outfits favour the stand-up desks and encourage employees to use them.
Summary and Action TakeAway
As much as I’ve enumerated the benefits of using a stand up desk in this article, I’d like to say moderation is key to doing anything in life. So, mix and match your sitting and standing postures daily; as excessive standing has also been found to be bad for your body because of the additional burden on the circulatory system as well as increasing the risks of varicose veins.
Should you want to make a switch from sitting to standing, please note that you have several options from buying a stand up desk to creating one for yourself with stacks and readily available boxes. But, if you want to get a good standing desk, you can search amazon as they have several options.