Lately, we’ve all heard
- You should be standing at your desk
- You should have a treadmill under your workstation
- You need a balance board to stand on while you work
- Sitting at your desk is killing you.
I can’t say I completely agree with that last statement, but I am confident that standing versus sitting burns 20 to 50 more calories an hour.
That said, I don’t think everyone should stand for their entire workday.
I've been in the ergo business for more than 30 years and have tried just about every type of standing desk product.
What have I learned? Let's find out.
Sitting and Standing Science
It’s best to briefly cover some of the scientific research surrounding the sitting versus standing issue.
There have been many studies discussing the adverse effects of sitting all day.
The Mayo Clinic, along with other sources, posted articles about sitting for long periods leading to increased risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.
To fight those concerns, researchers suggest using standing desks during your workday.
Standing decreases the likelihood of many health worries while, at the same time, increases productivity!
That all sounds wonderful but does using standing desks create more problems than solving them?
The answer: yes.
A 2015 study proved standing for prolonged periods negatively affects the body. Standing too long causes body cramps, fatigue, and long-term back pain.
So, What to Do?
I've found that the combination of both sitting AND standing is right for you. Staying in one position all day is the problem.
Incorporating both positions throughout the workday helps you become healthier, more productive, and happier.
Taking More Time
Here's another example.
Right now, I'm writing this article while riding in a car. I haven't stood up for two hours, and my back is not loving this situation.
So, soon I’ll get out of the car, stand and stretch getting my circulation going, hoping to feel my feet again.
After the 15-minute break, I climb back in the car and get back on the road.
Taking that stretch break created one downside: losing work time. Those 15 minutes prevented me from continuing my writing.
Will this lost time, plus time from future breaks, delay the end of my writing assignment?
The more stops we make; the more time lost writing.
Get the Blood Flowing
We've all been there. Deadlines don't change their calendars; the project is due to whether or not you're traveling.
Regardless of how you travel, you need time moving around, getting your blood pumping again.
These anecdotes are no different than you sitting at your desk all day. Working without standard desks eliminates any option of standing.
Give yourself a break, find an excuse to leave your desk to chat with an office mate, go to the bathroom, or head down to the breakroom for more coffee.
Unfortunately, returning to your desk, you discover the Office Work Fairy didn't magically finish the project you left on your desk.
Standing Desks: a Solution?
What if there’s a way to incorporate both sitting and standing during your workday without losing time?
You're lucky; there are so many options helping you to retrofit your existing desk into an ergonomic solution.
If your goal is turning your existing desk into a sit-to-stand converter or standing desk, you'll find many products helping you make a decision.
Some of those products include sit-to-stand converters, retrofitting your existing desk with an electric adjustable height base, or buying standing desks.
Whichever option you choose, find the best product for you and your situation.
Once you start using your new standing desk, create reminders telling you to get up and move around two to four times each hour.
Take your time after buying standing desks. Human beings adapt to every condition on the planet, but it takes a lot of conditioning time.
Transitioning to a daily standing schedule takes time. Let your body ease into it; otherwise, you'll experience significant discomfort.
Once accustomed to standing desks, you'll find that you are more refreshed and alert, helping you breeze through the rest of your workload.
There is no need to call the office work fairy now!
Oh yeah, don’t forget the 50 extra calories you’ll be burning per hour while standing.
Don’t choose between sitting or standing.