Millions of people spend thousands of hours a year sitting at a desk. Many of us are all too familiar with the typical 9 to 5 office setting. The problem is, spending too much time sitting down is seriously bad for your health. Research has shown that those who sit for significant periods of time during the day are at higher risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even at higher risk of early death (source).
Moreover, sitting for great periods of time does little when it comes to burning calories. This can lead to inevitable weight gain and worse, obesity (source).
Thankfully, standing desks are now available which can help alleviate many of the health issues related to sitting at a desk all day long.
What is a Standing Desk?
A standing desk is literally that – a desk which allows you to work while standing yet remain comfortable (source)
What’s even better is an adjustable variety, allowing you to switch comfortably between standing and sitting giving you the best of both worlds.
Research is still ongoing, however, many studies so far have discovered impressive health benefits when it comes to simply switching to a standing position at work.
At the very least, standing desks have been shown to reduce the health risks associated with sitting as well as possibly increasing productivity.
The Health Benefits of Standing up at Work
Standing Desks Improve Mood and Productivity
Standing desks have been found to promote overall well being and energy levels. In one study, people who used a standing desk were less stressed and fatigued at the end of a 7 week period than those who remained seated all day (source).
Moreover, 87% of participants reported that they experienced higher energy levels throughout the work day while using a standing desk.
Interestingly, upon returning to their prior seated position, their energy levels and mood decreased.
This links in with some significant research showing a strong link between sitting and mental health. Research is ongoing, but studies have concluded that a sedentary lifestyle can increase anxiety (source), depression and even impair cognitive ability (source).
Although many employers worry about the use of standing desks and the risk of lowering productivity, one study showed that office workers who used standing desks for 50% of their work day showed no impact on characters typed per minute or typing errors (source).
Therefore, as a standing desk clearly does not impede your ability in anyway while boosting your energy levels, it is safe to say this could result in significant rises in productivity.
Standing For Longer Periods May Reduce Your Risk of Early Death
Although this may sound extreme, science has found significant links between increased sitting time and early death.
In fact, one study showed that people who sit for longer are at 49% higher risk of dying early than those who sit less (source).
To show just how significant this research is, another study concluded that reducing the amount of time sat down by only 3 hours per day would actually increase the average American’s life expectancy by 2 years (source)
Reduces Aches and Pains
For those who work in an office, experiencing back pain is a common complaint.
However, numerous studies have shown that standing desks can reduce lower back pain by up to 35% (source).
A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that by using an adjustable desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing, upper back and neck pain was reduced by 54% in only 4 weeks (source).
By removing the adjustable desks, some of those improvements were undone within only 2 weeks.
Reduces The Risk of Chronic Diseases.
There are many studies showing the links between standing at work and reduced risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Standing can significantly lower your risk of obesity by increasing the amount of calories burned per day. One study showed that compared to an afternoon of working while sitting down, the same amount of time standing burned an additional 170 calories (source).
Moreover, higher blood sugar levels are linked to type 2 diabetes. One study concluded that by alternating between standing and sitting throughout the work day found over an 11% decrease in blood sugar spikes (source).
Furthermore, a recent study found those who spent their work day standing had half the risk of heart disease related deaths than their colleagues who spent their work day sitting (source).
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.