The kind of work most people do today requires a lot of sitting behind a desk, as they always have to work on their computers. However, this isn’t healthy for anyone, as it encourages a sedentary lifestyle, which could increase the risk of certain health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. This has called for better measures to reduce the rate at which people have to sit all day; one of these measures is by introducing standing desks to ensure anyone can still get their work down even while standing.
The effects of standing desks have been studied over the years and it has been shown to have full effects on task performance and engagement. It also helps improve physical activity among workers, which could have a huge effect on both their physical and psychological health.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the average American works 8.8 hours daily, even though they aren’t actively working most of the time. Researchers have also found that office workers tend to spend an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk, which is an unhealthy amount of time.
Should You Sit or Stand at Your Desk?
By default, you are required to sit at your desk to get the work done but the question for most people is: how often should you stand up from your desk? A professor from the University of Waterloo did his research and recommends that workers should stand at least 30 minutes per hour to get health benefits. You have to alternate between sitting and standing while you work, which is why a sit-stand desk may be a great idea for anyone who spends long hours at their desks.
Sitting for prolonged hours might seem comfortable but it also has its risks, some of which include health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. It affects major parts of your body, including your legs, glutes, hips, and back. Your muscles could become weak from prolonged sitting, which could also lead to musculoskeletal pain or strain, with the most common being the low back pain that can become chronic in the long run.
Your posture can be affected by poor sitting posture, which most people are fond of, as they do not know the proper way to sit. Constantly sitting down with a hunched back or curved spine can have a great effect on your posture in the long run and also lead to chronic back pain.
The effect it also has on your health cannot be dismissed, as you tend to have low energy levels when you sit for long hours. The same way improved physical activity has been shown to improve mental health, the reverse will be the case for prolonged hours of sitting with little to no physical activity level. One of the most effective and proven ways to improve your mental health is by being physically active; move around as often as you can to improve your healthy lifestyle.
The question of whether to sit or stand at your desk has an easy answer, which is to choose yourself and your health first. Try to create a balance between sitting and standing at your desk, so you don’t spend long hours on a sedentary lifestyle, thereby exposing yourself to more health risks.
Benefits of Standing at Your Desk
The benefits of standing at your desk are numerous, some of which have already been highlighted in this article. With a standing desk, you stand a better chance of being productive at work. This is because you become more physically active, which has a psychological effect on you and also helps your brain work better. You also get a boost in mood and energy and reduced musculoskeletal pain, which makes you more alert and aware of what you’re doing.
You are burning more calories while you stand, which reduces your risk of weight gain and obesity. Other health benefits include lowered blood sugar levels and lowered risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Getting a standing desk could give you a healthier life, considering you spend most of your time during the day at work. If you incorporate some physical activity into your workday, it will have huge benefits on your health and help you to be more productive at work.
How Long Should You Stand Per Day?
While standing at your desk might have its proven benefits, there should be a balance as it also comes with its risks. Prolonged and frequent standing can cause some discomfort. It can also cause blood to pool in the legs and feet or result in an inflammation of the leg veins. To avoid this or any complication that may arise from it, it’s best to have a healthy interval between sitting and standing.
If you’re just getting started with a standing desk, try not to make a quick switch but rather take it slowly until your body adjusts to the new lifestyle. You could sit for an hour and stand up for thirty minutes and keep switching between both. As you proceed, you can adjust the time to thirty minutes for sitting and thirty minutes for standing or whichever interval best suits you and your body.
There are several standing desk tips to guide you in using a standing desk correctly to ensure you get maximum benefits. If you’ve ever wondered how long to stand at the desk, the bottom line of this is to create a balance between both.
While you decide to take your health seriously and stand more while at work, you should also consider the size of the desk and how it suits you. Whether it is a sitting or a standing desk, ensure it aligns with your height, to help you get the correct posture. Preferably, get an adjustable sit-stand desk, so you can conveniently adjust it to suit your height as you sit or stand. It also helps you to save space, so you can get one convertible desk rather than two.