It has long been recognized that sitting down too much and for too long a period is bad for your health. Negative effects of this behavior include a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and even dying prematurely. Excessive sitting is also linked to weight gain and obesity. This is a major problem for those who work in an office and spend most of their time sitting at a desk. Well, help is at hand, and it comes in the form of a stand-up desk. But what are the actual benefits of a stand-up desk and are they worth trying?
Benefits of a Stand-up Desk?
Basically, a stand-up desk is exactly what it says it is – a desk that allows you to stand while you are working. Many now are even adjustable so that you can alternate between standing and sitting. Early research indicates that indeed these stand-up desks do have benefits including:
- A lower risk of weight gain and obesity
- Significantly lower blood sugar levels
- A lower risk of heart disease
- A reduction in back pain
- An improvement in mood and energy levels
- A boost in productivity
- A longer life
Are these benefits really scientifically proven?
While the extent of the studies of the benefits of stand-up desks has been small so far, the results are definitely worth further research on a larger scale. Small studies that have been carried out have concluded:
- Weight gain and obesity – 170 more calories are burned while standing at a desk than sitting.
- Diabetes – standing after lunch for 180 minutes reduces blood sugar spikes by 43%.
- Lumbago and back problems – a 32% improvement in back pain compared to sitting.
- Mood and energy – increased vigor and energy in 87% of those testing the stand-up desk.
- Life expectancy – reducing sitting time by 3 hours per day could raise life expectancy by 2 years.
Furthermore, it has been discovered that prolonged sitting time can increase the risk of heart disease by an incredible 147% and that those who sit for the longest periods are 49% more likely to die earlier than those who sit the least. Less important, but still valid, however is that the concerns that standing at a desk would hinder daily tasks such as typing were incorrect. There were no negative impacts on characters typed per minute and none on typing errors made. Work output was just as efficient and in the same, if not greater, amounts.
So…should you invest in one?
It is clear that further research is needed before we can say with 100% certainty that stand-up desks are the desks of the future, but it cannot be denied that they are showing great promise. Nobody, after all, wants to be unhealthy due to a desk job if stand-up desks can change this. Perhaps it will be time for us all to take a stand!