Stand and Deliver
If you follow workplace wellness trends, you’ve probably noticed that standing desks are getting a lot of attention these days. There is ample reason for the hype surrounding an alternative to traditional sitting desks; as several studies have shown, sitting is very bad for your health. Sitting puts an extra 40 percent of pressure on your spine, and a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, and even increased risk of dementia and cancer! The health risks prompted some to claim that “sitting is the new smoking.”
Working Americans spend an average of six to 10 hours a day sitting, usually in front of a computer. But how to work without sitting? Enter the standing desk, touted by many as a cure-all for the problems that prolonged sitting brings. Custom standing desks are available for thousands of dollars, or homemade ones can be fashioned from planks, books, and other household items.
Research shows that spending at least part of your day at a standing desk has some considerable benefits, including:
- Reduced risk of obesity
- Reduced risk of cancer, especially breast and colon cancer
- Improved posture
- Less pressure on spine, so reduction of some back pain
- Longer life
That being said, research shows that replacing sitting all day with standing all day is not ideal either. Standing for long periods can increase lower back pain, decrease concentration on certain tasks, and result in enlarged veins. The key, it seems, is movement and moderation. Going back and forth between sitting and standing during the course of the day is much more beneficial than choosing one position and staying in it for eight hours. Many people are now choosing convertible sit/stand desks that allow for that flexibility, and adding accessories like anti-fatigue mats to reduce pressure on legs.