Sedentariness is a common problem in the UK and many of us enjoy a sedentary lifestyle by binge-watching TV and sitting in front of cars and computers. Combine this lifestyle with a 9 to 5 desk job Monday to Friday and it is a recipe for disaster.
Today we want to delve into the benefits of standing desks and how they can significantly contribute to your overall health.
A standing desk, also called a stand-up desk, is basically a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working. Many modern versions of desks are adjustable so that you can change the height of the desk, alternating between sitting and standing.
These are known as height-adjustable desks or combined sit-stand desks. Although research is still in its early stages, it does appear that there are significant health benefits to using a standing desk. It may also improve productivity. At least, the harmful effects of sitting too much can be partially offset by using this type of desk.
Here are the benefits of using a standing desk, all of which are backed by science.
"Improving your productivity" is a phrase any boss likes to hear, and this benefit can help convince your company to invest in a standing desk.
A study published in the British Medical Journal followed a trial involving 146 NHS staff, more than half of whom replaced their traditional desks with flexible standing desks. The study showed that those who usually worked in sedentary jobs and switched to standing desks reported an increase in work engagement and a reduction in musculoskeletal problems.
After 12 months, the participants managed to reduce their sedentary time by 82.39 minutes per day, and this was replaced by standing at work. This shows that it does not take much status to reap the benefits.
Weight gain is attributed to the simple premise that if you consume more calories than you burn in a given day, you will gain weight.
Burning calories is something our bodies naturally do, but this can be increased by doing exercises such as running and walking. But did you know that you can burn more calories by standing up rather than sitting down?
Many employees attribute the weight gain to their current job as it is believed to be due to sitting all day. Over the course of a year, standing for an extra three hours a day (which is easy to do in an office) can burn up to 30,000 extra calories. That's the equivalent of 8 pounds of fat and the equivalent of running about 10 marathons.
Try this calorie burn calculator to see the impact of standing on your daily calorie burn.
Back pain is one of the most common complaints of British workers. Our sedentary lives have triggered this epidemic, with four out of five adults in the UK now experiencing some kind of back pain in their lives.
Humans are not made to sit for long periods of time and this does not bode well for those with desk jobs. Thankfully, research has shown that breaking the routine by standing intermittently can significantly reduce the risk of back pain.
Fifty-four percent of employees (as reported by juststand.org) said they felt a reduction in upper back and neck pain after spending less time sitting down.
The benefits of standing for an extra hour a day can be extraordinary.
It is not surprising that standing for an hour uses more muscles than sitting. Standing between workdays helps to strengthen the core, leg, ankle, and foot muscles. However, for all of the above to be beneficial, you must stand correctly. There is no benefit to spending time standing at work if you will end up slouching.
Integrating standing into your daily routine may take time to get used to, so if you struggle with this, gradually increase your standing time rather than opting for a 4-hour session from the outset.
To stand in the correct position, stand straight with your feet centered under your hips. Tuck in your tailbone and push your shoulders back, keeping your head high but your chin parallel to the floor. With improved posture and muscle toning, you can even increase your metabolism, thus further increasing the number of calories burned per hour.
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