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sd2I’m lucky because the majority of my teaching time with OSU is spent primarily in a standing position.  But I also spend the occasional day in my office sitting in front of a computer. I would much rather stand than sit, so I finally took the bull by the horns and invested in a standing desk. If you’ve been encouraged by previous postings to do likewise, my standing desk “sleuthing” will give you a head start in the research department.

I have a fairly large office with a cool antique oak desk for non-technical work and a separate “table-like” desk that holds my computer/printer equipment.  I still prefer working on a desktop; I know laptops are all the rage but I just cannot work comfortably on one for long stretches of time. So my search for the perfect standing option had to “marry well” with my personal work station.

 

What Option Should You Choose?

You’ll be amazed at how many innovations are currently available for elevating your work station. I narrowed my search down to two fairly unobtrusive ones. The first option was an adjustable table-like desk, very similar to what my computer already sits on. Two upside-down, T-type legs with a top is the best way to describe it.  But unlike mine, an adjustable desk has mechanisms that move the legs from sitting height to standing height and back again.

Sit/stand desks are raised and lowered by (1) a hand-crank (the cheapest), (2) electronics, or (3) a hydraulic/pneumatic mechanism (most expensive). Electronic desks are currently the most popular choice for efficiency and cost reasons. They can hold up to several hundred pounds, and range in price from $500-$4000.

Since I already had a desk that resembled the sit/stand desk, I decided to go with option two, which is an adjustable station you place on your existing desk ($250-500 range). It is a great way to transform your regular desk into one where you can stand and sit. The station comes in different finishes and has a 28- by 24-inch base level that holds the keyboard and mouse.  A second, smaller elevated level holds the monitor.stand

When you want to stand, you adjust a knob that pneumatically raises the two platforms together, so they glide up to the proper level. When you feel like going back to sitting, you just bring the platform back down. The adjustable station meets my personal needs perfectly, but if you are interested in making a similar investment, I recommend you view multiple sites and read customer reviews before making a purchase.

 

Why Stand?

Sitting all day, every day, is bad for you. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic was one of the first researchers to document the hazards of sitting. Unfortunately, many Americans sit all day at work and then all evening at home.  But even people who exercise on a daily basis and then sit the rest of the day in their car, couch, and/or desk are at risk.  Sitting most of the day raises your risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and potentially an early death.

If your lifespan or risk for chronic disease isn’t enough of a motivating factor to get you upright, consider this:  standing instead of sitting helps promote weight loss. Replacing an hour or two of sitting time with standing time will help burn extra calories.  There are also posture issues, butt issues, and spinal concerns to consider. Whether your future includes a standing desk or not, please commit to stand more and sit less. Your body will thank you.

 

Written by:  Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

https://www.reviews.com/standing-desk/

http://www.juststand.org/tabid/636/language/en-US/default.aspx

http://www.umphysicians.org/news/standing-desks-the-science-behind-a-health-trend/index.htm

http://www.healthtalk.umn.edu/2014/12/22/u-m-study-finds-sit-stand-workstations-help-improve-blood-pressure-reduce-cardiometabolic-risk/

 

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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, astanding desknd 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. rini.41@osu.edu

Reviewer: Candace Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Morrow County. heer.7@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24532996

https://hbr.org/2010/08/the-many-benefits-of-standing.html

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/172/4/419.abstract

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