Should You Use A Standing Desk?
Relatively new to the workplace is the idea that fitness and health can and should be incorporated right there at one’s desk during the workday. For many years, employers have offered benefits packages that include access to gyms and pass for fitness classes, and some big corporations even have onsite gyms, running clubs, and other fitness related activities to be enjoyed before the work day begins, during the lunch hour, or after everyone closes up shop at 5 pm.
But more and more, employees are looking to streamline their fitness routines so as not to lose valuable time from their workdays, or so that they do not have to take away time from their families, social life, or other extracurricular activities before and after work. A quick Pinterest search will reveal a ton of lists regarding bodyweight exercises you can do without leaving your office, and stand up desks and even treadmill desks are becoming all the rage. While you might not be ready to commit to an entire treadmill, (typing on a keyboard, strategizing and problem-solving on the computer, and maintaining a brisk walking pace DOES sound like a daunting multi-tasking endeavor) stand up desks might be perfect for you and your fitness and health goals.
The Advantages of Having a Stand Up Desk in Your Office or Workspace
Stand up desks can provide a ton of benefits to employees. And fortunately, there are a wide variety of brands and styles to choose from (so no matter how tall or short you are, or how much or little space you need at your desk to hold your screens and devices, you can certainly find one to fit you!) First off, there are a ton of studies that suggest that individuals who are seated constantly throughout their workday with minimal movement are at a higher risk of facing some damaging unhealthy consequences.
A decreased amount of cardiovascular activity more often leads to a higher risk of obesity, which poses a whole list of adverse health effects. An increased amount of time spent sitting as also been linked to higher blood pressure readings, cholesterol levels, and even a higher risk of cancer. You may also find that you have a stiff back due to poor sitting posture, and seemingly minor aches and pains in your core, neck, and shoulders that can actually lead to big problems.
People might also experience decreased blood flow to extremities, particularly feet and toes (and hands, if you are not busily typing away at a keyboard) that can lead to numbness. And while you might not think that simply standing could have THAT much of an impact on these negative outcomes, research suggests otherwise. Especially beneficial is a routined sitting and standing pattern. For instance, standing every 30 minutes, or even just once an hour leads to more calories burned, increased blood flow, and an overall increase in productivity and a decrease in general pains and stiffness. Having a standing desk at your desk makes this exceptionally easy to do!
If you are someone who has worked many years at a 9 to 5 desk job, and you have noticed a slow weight gain (especially around your abdomen) as well as chronic symptoms like fatigue, numbness in hands and feet, and sore muscles, then you might just need to get up and move about a bit more during the workday. A standup desk would be a great option for you, so long as you are healthy enough to stand for extended periods of time. (However, even if you can only stand a minute or two at a time due to health complications, that is the beauty of a standing desk! You can lower or raise it whenever you want, even if it means you only stand for a minute each hour.)
Possible Disadvantages of Having a Stand Up Desk in Your Office or Workspace
Because stand up desks are so versatile and can easily be lowered and raised so that you can sit or stand as little or as much as you, it is only fair that we also highlight a few disadvantages of purchasing a stand-up desk. The first and most common complaint about them is their price tag. A good stand up desk that is easy to use and big enough for all of your belongings can run you about $300. Prices vary depending on how large or small your stand up desk of choice is, as well as if it is just a “desk topper” that sits on your desk and raises up and down, or if it is actually a desk itself.
The good news is that many times, the business or company you work for might be willing to purchase it for you on the office’s expense since it has been linked to increased health and productivity. Users of stand up desks also need to be mindful of how long they stand at one time. Just as there are definitely adverse health impacts from sitting all day, so too do consumers need to know and understand the implications that might arise from standing all day.
The most common complaints include pain and swelling in the feet, ankles, and back. In extreme cases, users might experience numbness in their joints and feet – which is particularly concerning if they are also having pain from overuse, but don’t realize it. The result then could be a more long-term, aggravated injury.
Basically, stand up desks can be expensive – there’s no question about that. And if you are not careful about your use of them, they might lead to some nagging injuries that may even become serious. But if you have a way to pay for a stand up desk that doesn’t completely break your budget (i.e. your place of employment buys it for you!) and you are mindful of how long you stand, being sure to break up long-standing periods with seated periods, and you are not feeling any particular pains or extreme fatigue that could be caused by more standing during the work day, then a stand up desk is likely a great option for you.
- What are the risks of sitting too much?, Mayo Clinic Blog, ,