Are Sit Stand Desks Worth It?
Sit-stand desks offer a new alternative for the way we work and have grown in popularity over recent years. They have become the new health craze in the workplace to counteract the negative health impacts of sitting in a crouched position all day.
Standing desks are quite an investment… but it’s an investment towards better and optimal health. Although they have been around for over 20 years, there’s still uncertainty and doubt on their real value.
According to the Office for National Statistics, almost half of the UK’s workforce are working from home or doing some work from home. This trend is expected to continue as we all get used to a new way of working. Although there are definitely benefits from working in the comfort of your own home, often it is not comfortable at all. Working from your bed, sofa kitchen table etc. is not only uncomfortable but is doing long lasting damage to your back. Now more than ever people are putting their health first and paying attention to their workspace.
Can sit-stand desks be the answer you are looking for? Health and workplace studies have proven a number of reasons why utilising a sit-stand desk is beneficial for our health and it’s more than we think. This guide is based on fact and fiction: Are sit-stand desks worth it?
Let’s take a look…
What’s so bad about sitting anyways?
Standing up rather than sitting down actually provides many great benefits for our body. Our bodies were not designed to be sitting down all day long, let alone being hunched over, looking down at our computers!
Sitting all day puts our health at risk and can be more harmful than we think and seriously degrades the quality of our lives.
Not only are we spending numerous hours a day sitting for work, but also hours are spent sitting when we are commuting, watching TV, relaxing, and on our phones/tablets as well.
So it’s pretty certain that we are sitting down for longer than we think we do and it’s causing more than just back pain. There is increasing evidence that sitting down too much can be a risk to your health and may include:
- Obesity and weight gain – your metabolism slows down 90% after sitting down for more than 30 minutes meaning that your body cannot burn off the calories that you have eaten.
- Body aches and pain – sitting down for long periods of time can lead to severe stiffness and pain in the musculoskeletal system. This may include pain in the hips, knees, low back, neck, etc. This only increases as you age.
- Atrophy of muscles – when sitting in the same position, our muscles get shorter, tighter, and weaker because they are not being used that can result in numerous medical conditions.
- Serious health conditions – it has been proven that too much sitting can cause other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and depression.
How can sit stand desks improve the way we work?
The issues around sitting too much and the benefits of standing has provided a number of reasons why people have now replaced their standard desk with a sit-stand desk to support their wellbeing and health.
Here are 10 reasons why sit-stand desks can improve the way you work:
1. Reduces back pain by 54%
About 80% of the population experiences back pain. Sitting for long periods of time causes stress and strain on your spine. Your spine holds the nervous system which is in control of every organ and muscle of the body. Adding stress and strain to your spine results in the nervous system not being able to function properly – leading to pain and dysfunction and a number of health issues.
How can we resolve this? Simply by not sitting down so much. With most of our time spent sitting down for work, it is about time we adjusted the way we work to support our health. Using a Sit-stand desks will allow you to alternate between sitting and standing, elongating the spine, and restoring its natural ‘S’ shape. Sit-stand desks relieve the stress on the spine which is caused by sitting.
Studies have shown that by utilising a sit-stand desk back-pain can be reduced by 54%, allowing you to focus and be productive pain-free.
2. Increases energy levels
As we have mentioned above, sitting compresses the spine and restricts your natural blood flow. Without blood flow, nerves are unable to flow to the muscles and organs that need them to function properly. Standing allows for the nerves to flow smoothly, allowing your blood to flow free and deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and organs.
When your muscles and organs are functioning at their best, you are also able to perform at your best with peak strength and capability. This increases your energy and gives you a boost throughout your day.
3. Increases productivity and brain function
Studies show that standing can actually increase productivity by 46%. When we are standing there is better circulation to the brain and other vital organs meaning more oxygen gets to them. When we’re giving our brain the oxygen it needs, we are able to be sharp and able to focus on tasks longer. Also, increased energy levels as a result of healthy organs allows you to function at your best. Resulting in you being able to focus more on tasks and be productive when completing them.
Standing vs sitting may make you more smarter than you think!
4. Increases lung capacity
Sitting down and rounding our shoulders closes and compresses our rib cages, making it harder for us to breathe. When we are not breathing adequately, there’s a lack of oxygen getting to our brain and muscles. If our brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, how can we be expected to function well at work?
Utilising a sit-stand desk allows our body to elongate, allowing maximum lung capacity. The more oxygen we have, the better our physical and mental function.
5. Delays muscle degeneration
When sitting for long periods of time, our lower muscles are “turned off” as they are not being used and not needed. When muscles aren’t getting sufficient blood flow, they undergo atrophy – shortening and weakening of the muscles.
When using a sit-stand desk, you can switch between a sitting and standing position. Standing activates the muscles and keeps them working and keeps the blood flowing. Not only does it prevent atrophy, but it will also keep your muscles strong and healthy.
6. Lose weight and burn calories
Standing is a workout itself. Did you know that you burn 50% more calories standing than sitting down? Sitting can lead to fat buildup around the internal organs, which can result in other health problems later in life such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. This is due to more energy being used when standing up – energy is required for our muscles to work and to be able to hold our body erect.
7. Improves mood
Standing releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are released into the bloodstream from the brain to reduce pain and boost pleasure. These “feel good” hormones improve mood, making you actually enjoy work!
8. Lowers stress
Standing is also referred to as a power position. Standing nice and tall with your shoulders back gives you the confidence and awareness you need when working.
Work assignments and tasks can become stressful at times however, when standing, it is difficult to tense or be fearful in this “power position”. Standing has a calming effect to the body which also lowers stress. Utilising a sit-stand desk and having that option to stand when working lowers stress levels and enables you to work stress free and with confidence.
9. Higher self-esteem
Like going to the gym or starting a new diet, replacing your basic desk with a sit-stand desk increases your self-esteem as you know you are bettering yourself. Knowing that sit-stand desks are beneficial for your health and utilising one in the workplace naturally makes you feel better as you are helping your body become a better version of yourself.
10. Ease of Option
Finally, there will be times that it will be impractical, or you may now want to stand. Having a sit-stand desk that easily converts from one to the other, provides you with the right option at the right time.
Is a sit stand desk for me?
Now that you know how sit-stand desks are designed to support your health and improve that way you work, how will you know if they are the right choice for you?
Sit-stand desks are an investment towards optimal health in the workplace. These sit-stand desks give you the option to sit or stand, at whatever time, allowing for complete comfort at work. Although standing whilst working can be something that takes time to get used to, your body and mind will thank you for it. Not only will it result in less pain, but you will also be able to work efficiently, productively, and confidently.