The quintessential work routine in the US makes it difficult to harness the benefits of physical activity or movement. Between the morning and afternoon commutes, desk work, meetings, and screen time, Americans spend most of their hours sitting for long.
However, standing desks or electrical desks are now replacing the standard desks at workplaces. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, standing desks are one of the fastest-growing benefits that employees are seeking at their workplaces.
Standing Desks: Changing the Dynamics
As the name suggests, a standing desk is a workstation designed for use while standing. Unlike a standard desk that usually has a fixed height, standing desks come with height adjustment features. If you have a standard sitting desk, you can simply place your computer on a stack of books or top of a box for optimal viewing. But, it does not offer ergonomic benefits.
However, standing desks are more convenient as these custom-built platforms allow you to adjust the height with a push of a button. You can get customized standing desks depending on the task, such as telephoning, computer use, or architectural drawing.
Manual Standing Desk
These are adjustable standing desk converters. You can use the squeeze handles to adjust the desk. Usually, these desks have a gas spring and hydraulic lifting mechanism that helps to convert your sitting desk into a standing desk manually.
Electric Standing Desk
Usually, a precision linear motor powers the electric adjustable-height desks. They have the edge over manually operated standing desks in terms of speed, performance, and convenience. But, electric standing desks are pricey than crank-operated desks.
Compared to standard desks, the electric or standing desks are sturdy, convenient, and offer a wide range of ergonomic benefits.
Sitting: The New Smoking
Before we look at the ergonomics and various health benefits that standing desks offer, it is essential to understand why sitting for too long is bad. Research from the American Cancer Society shows that sitting for an extended period deteriorates your health, even if you manage to get plenty of exercises.
No wonder sitting is called “the new smoking.” The average American, aged 12 and older, sit for eight to ten hours a day doing things that require less movement, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sitting for a long time makes you susceptible to premature death.
If you have a standard desk at the office, and you spend most of the time seated, you are at risk of developing several health issues. For instance, you can face musculoskeletal problems, heart disease, increased sugar levels, and, of course, obesity.
Ergonomic Benefits of Standing Desks
According to the Cornell University Department of Ergonomics, sitting compared to standing exerts 90% additional pressure on your back. Ergonomics has a simple principle – fit the task to the person instead of making the person adjust to the task.
Standing desks limit your sitting time and help you focus on movement by alternating your postures. It does not only reduce pain and strain but also increases your comfort level and productivity at work.
Adjustability is crucial; your job desk, monitor arm, chair, and keyboard tray –all must be adjustable, and that is only possible with height-adjustable standing desks. The electric desks provide many benefits, such as:
- A standing workstation reduces lower back pain significantly
- It decreases half of the neck and upper back pain
- Height-adjustable standing desks reduce arm and wrist strain, as you can keep your arms at your wrists level at 90 degrees
- It improves your posture as you stand upright with your shoulders pulled back
Other Health Benefits
A sedentary lifestyle contributes to a variety of health problems, including diabetes and heart diseases. The inactive lifestyle is the fourth leading cause of deaths in the world; experts often suggest taking walk breaks during work. Well, you can draw many benefits from standing desks and get rid of your sedentary work routine.
Burn Calories, Lose Weight
Obesity is a common problem among people who have a sedentary lifestyle, i.e., sitting for long hours. But, using standing desks for three hours a day can help reduce weight, burning 174 more calories than you could burn sitting. That is almost 40,000 calories or twelve pounds of body weight a year.
Minimize the Risk of Heart Diseases
Sitting for 7-8 hours straight at workstation poses a severe threat to the heart. Even if you exercise an hour daily, it cannot make up for the damage sedentary work routine causes. Prolonged sitting increases the risk of heart disease by 147%.You can lower the risk by using standing desks and adopting an active lifestyle.
Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
A study found that those who stand for three hours after lunch experience a 43%drop in the after-meal blood sugar spike. In comparison, prolonged sitting increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes by a whopping 112%. So, a standing desk helps control your sugar levels.
Improve Fatigue, Lower Back Pain
According to Mayo Clinic, back pain is the third common reason for a visit to doctors in the US. Sitting for long contributes to upper and lower back pain. A study found that compared to traditional desks, standing workstations improve fatigue in overweight employees. It also found that using an electric height-adjustable standing desk reduces the musculoskeletal discomfort by 32%.
Increase Productivity and Energy Level
In a study focused on occupational sitting,87% of participants said they feel more energetic at work when using standard desks. A sedentary routine makes you depress; using a standing workstation reduces stress and fatigue. It improves blood circulation and oxygen supply to the brain, thereby increasing your productivity level.
Word of Advice
While standing desks offer many advantages, make sure that you switch from sitting to standing gradually. For instance, at first, only stand for 30 minutes to an hour a day. Just like sitting for all day is harmful, so is standing for extended hours. Thus, the transition should be smooth and gradual. Many workplaces have already replaced standard desks with electric height-adjustable standing workstations. If you are also planning for the switch over, you can find the best standing desks for your workspace or office here.