Standing desks have been a point of discussion in many an office, especially in recent years. With a large number of people in the workforce confined to an 8-hour desk job, it’s no surprise that prolonged sitting and its health effects are now serious concerns for the average individual.
“Sitting is the new smoking” as the saying goes. Studies have indicated that a mostly-sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, back pain, and compromised productivity in the workplace.
Sitting is a nearly unavoidable part of how we operate as people. When you’re sitting at the office, waiting in traffic, or meeting a friend over coffee, you’ll inevitably find yourself in a bum-on-seat situation. So how do we find a solution to this daily problem? Are standing desks the answer? Will it really get your blood flow increased and your alertness level higher?
At the onset of the popularity of height-adjustable standing desks, the general notion was that standing would counteract the negative effects of sitting in the workplace. However, it may not be as clear-cut as that.
It’s a great deal that ergonomics has become something that many office workers have been more concerned about and people have begun to appreciate the health benefits of an ergonomic workplace.
Whether it’s for your home office or for when in your shared office space, let’s take a look into the benefits of standing desks and how you can create a more ergonomic workspace.
To Sit or to Stand? That Is the Question.
Prolonged periods of sitting or standing can have adverse effects on a person’s health either way. Standing for long periods of time can result in strain on leg muscles which can lead to long-term lower-limb and back problems if this is a daily occurrence. So maybe having a stand-up desk isn’t necessarily the way to go when trying to get a better posture or eliminate back pain.
What you really need is to keep moving throughout the day. Keeping yourself moving is the best way to avoid the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. So, the best way to handle this is to have a combination of sitting and standing, learning to work while moving between the two keeps the body more active.
Debunking some myths
Standing desks aren’t miracle solutions that lead to weight loss and increased physical activity, it’s not a magic solution that would prevent heart disease or lowered blood sugar. You need a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise in order for that to happen.
But, don’t get it wrong, standing desks are there to encourage you to be more mindful of your physical health. The calorie burn you get from sitting and standing the whole day may not be enough for you to burn those extra calories, but they’re a good reminder for you to partake in a more active lifestyle.
So…Are Standing Desks Worth It?
The question remains. Should you opt to switch out your existing sitting desk for a height-adjustable one? The answer is: it depends.
Choosing the get a sit-stand desk largely depends on the type of lifestyle you already live. Many of these standing desks are height adjustable so you have a variety of options to suit your height and posture. If you live a relatively active lifestyle or have a job that naturally requires a lot of movement, you could just stick to your normal desk.
However, if you do work a regular desk job, it might be a good idea to have a sit-stand workstation. This type of setup almost forces mobility into your daily routine by allowing you to switch between both without straining your body for prolonged periods of time either way.
Decided to Make the Switch?
If you’ve made the decision to use standing desks for work, then don’t just jump into the hype train and get one without truly understanding your purpose for it. Switching to an adjustable standing desk is an intentional decision that requires planning and proper workspace organisation.
Ideally, standing desks are in tandem with an anti-fatigue mat, which encourages you to stand more and provides support for your legs to keep them from hurting and feeling fatigued. A good office chair with good low back and upper back support is also highly encouraged to be paired with your sit-stand desk to provide good ergonomics when you’re seated down.
Monitor stands and laptop lifts are also often used by those who employ the use of standing desks as these help alleviate neck pains from tilting your head down for hours on end.
If you have an existing desk that you already love, there are desk converters available that you can use to swap out the legs of your existing desk to make it height adjustable.
The things that you need to pair with your standing workstations may seem like a lot, but it pays off in the end for those that are intentional with creating an ergonomic workspace. Being more mindful and making the right investments can lead to decreased lower back pain and neck pains as long as you’re using it as it’s intended.
Where do I go from here…
It’s time to reassess your lifestyle (especially if you’re sitting at your desk right now and reading this article). Take some time and look up the best standing desks out there and this about if this is right for you. Sophisticated options like the Varidesk may provide the flexibility you need to improve your posture and stay healthy at work.
Whether you decide to get a new desk or not, make sure to stand up, move around, and find a way to get yourself moving during your workday. If you’re finding back pain is a daily problem for you, it might not be just about your workspace, it could be time for a new mattress.