Sitting too much is bad for your body. People who sit a lot every day have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and premature death. Additionally, sitting all the time burns very few calories, which many studies have linked to weight gain and obesity. This is a major problem for office workers, who spend most of the day sitting. Fortunately, standing desks are growing in popularity.
What is a standing desk?
A standing desk is basically a desk that allows you to stand comfortably while you work. Many modern versions are adjustable so you can change the height of the table and alternate between sitting and standing positions. These are called height-adjustable desks or sit-stand desks. Although research is still in its early stages, using a standing desk does have impressive health benefits. It also increases productivity.
At the very least, using this type of desk can partially counteract the harmful effects of too much sitting.
Weight gain is ultimately caused by eating more calories than you burn. Conversely, burning more calories than you get can lead to weight loss. While exercise is the most effective way to burn calories quickly, simply choosing to stand over sitting can also be beneficial. In fact, standing an equivalent amount of time has been shown to burn 170 times the extra calories compared to an afternoon at a sedentary job. Burning almost 1000 more calories per week just at your desk every day. This caloric difference may be one reason why prolonged sitting is so closely linked to obesity and metabolic disease.
In general, the more blood sugar levels rise after a meal, the worse it is for your health. This is especially true for those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. In a small study of 10 office workers, standing for 180 minutes after lunch reduced blood sugar rises by 43 percent, while sitting and waiting time varied. Both groups took the same steps, suggesting that the smaller spikes were due to standing rather than extra body movement around the office. Research shows that using a standing desk at work can lower blood sugar levels, especially after lunch.
Back pain is one of the most common complaints of office workers who sit all day. To determine whether standing desks can improve this condition, multiple studies were conducted on employees with chronic back pain. Participants reported up to 32 percent improvement in lower back pain after using the standing desk for a few weeks. Another study published by the CDC found that using a sit-stand desk reduced pain in the upper back and neck by 54 percent after just 4 weeks. Additionally, removing the standing desk could undo some of the improvements within 2 weeks.
Multiple studies have shown that standing desks can greatly reduce chronic back pain caused by prolonged sitting.