Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, those of us with primarily office-based jobs tend to do an awful lot of sitting. Research has consistently shown that too much sitting is associated with several risks to our health, including reduced blood flow, spinal issues related to hunching over a desk, and lack of activity which is linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease and a shorter lifespan.
As more people have taken notice of this research, some workers have been conscious about standing up regularly to take breaks from sitting throughout the day, using the stairs more often than the elevator, and even having standing or walking meetings. I recently decided to take it one “step” further and invest in a standing desk. I now stand all day instead of sitting! Of course, there are times when I sit, but the majority of my day is spent standing up and working. After all, I do enough sitting in the car, during meals, and while watching TV or reading in the evening.
One immediate benefit I have noticed since I began using my standing desk is that the tension that I used to carry in my upper back and shoulders has been relieved. I believe this is a result of no longer sitting in the “computer” position, hunched over my screen for excessive amounts of time. (I have heard this condition referred to as ‘tech neck’). I also notice that since I started standing at work, I have a decreased feeling of the ‘afternoon drag’, where I feel my energy start to get low, which – whether I realized it or not – very likely affected my productivity. Now at my standing desk, I find my energy level is more consistent and that sleepy feeling after lunch seems to have disappeared. A similar experience with transitioning to a standing desk is reported in Harvard Business Review.
An added bonus to standing is more calories burned during the day. A research study from the University of Chester in the UK showed that standing promotes a higher heart rate – on average, about ten beats per minute higher than the average sitting heart rate. This translates to .7 calories per minute – or about 50 calories per hour. Replacing sitting with standing for about three hours per day over the course of a year would burn about an extra 30,000 calories, or about eight pounds of fat! If you add to that all of the other benefits of standing more, such as improved blood glucose level regulation, strengthening muscles, and increased balance, you might consider wheeling your office chair right out the door!
Author: Joanna Rini, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Medina County. firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewer: Candace Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Morrow County. email@example.com