As American jobs have become increasingly desk-bound and tied to computers, workers are spending more and more time sitting at their desks. In fact, between work and home, the average American spends over 12 hours a day sitting.
This sedentary lifestyle, termed “sitting disease” by the medical community, is one of the biggest health threats of our modern lifestyle. Sitting disease refers to metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of a sedentary lifestyle, including increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, obesity, and early death. Prolonged sitting actively promotes several avoidable chronic diseases that are eating away at our health.
The good news is that making a few small changes to your daily habits can make a huge improvement in your well-being and help you attain a healthier lifestyle. Making an effort to stand and move more throughout the day benefits your mind, body, and overall health in numerous ways.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate more standing and movement into your day is to start using a sit-stand desk at work. After all, the workday accounts for at least 8 hours of sitting every day. A sit-stand desk is a height adjustable desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing at your desk while you work.
There are countless health benefits of using a sit-stand desk, but here are six of the most important:
1. Sit-stand-switch capability.
Members of the medical community are promoting a “sit-stand-switch” philosophy for optimum health. This philosophy says to alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes to prevent too much strain from being placed on your body in any one position. A sit-stand desk makes it easy to switch from sitting to standing, using a hand crank or an automated button.
2. Exercise + standing is the secret to fitness.
Even if you exercise for an hour every day, it will not be enough to overcome the ill-effects of sitting for 12+ hours a day. Low-impact movements such as standing and walking play a much more important role in our metabolic expenditure and overall health than most people realize. Your body needs moderate movement throughout the day in addition to regular exercise to maintain peak fitness and health.
3. Prevent metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is the name for the cluster of conditions that increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, including weight gain and obesity. Not only does standing burn 30% more calories per hour than sitting, but standing up activates the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Standing up also helps moderate insulin levels. When you lead a sedentary lifestyle, these essential processes slow down, causing your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels to rise, along with your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
4. Relieve chronic pain.
Many people experience chronic back or neck pain caused by excessive sitting. Our bodies were designed to stand and move throughout the day, so sitting for extended periods of time puts a strain on our joints. This can cause chronic pain, herniated disks, and pinched nerves.
Lower back pain is the number one reported job-related disability, and costs $85 billion per year in healthcare, lost income, and productivity. Standing improves posture and puts your spine into a more naturally aligned position. When standing desks were introduced, 54% of workers reported a reduction in back and neck pain.
5. Improved mood and energy levels.
Moving your body pumps fresh blood and oxygen to the brain, which releases mood-enhancing chemicals. Workers who received standing desks reported a significant improvement to overall mood within 7 weeks of using their sit-stand desks. Incorporating movement into the day promotes motivation, enthusiasm, and morale among employees.
Standing is also a natural way to get a jolt of energy. 87% of employees reported increased energy levels and alertness when using a stand-up desk. So next time you feel your energy flagging before you reach for a fresh cup of coffee, try standing up!
6. Enhanced brain power.
Good circulation is essential for good health. Within just ten minutes of sitting, blood flow is negatively impacted, slowing circulation and increasing risk for blood clots. Standing helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the brain by stimulating blood flow. It facilitates neurogenesis, or the creation of new cells, which increases brain power. Studies have linked standing during the workday to increased concentration, productivity, and performance.
It’s clear that incorporating more standing and movement into the workday will have far-reaching positive effects on your health. The question is not whether a standing desk is a good idea, but which sit-stand desk is the right fit for you.
At FlexiSpot, we offer electric height adjustable desks, crank adjustable-height desks, and pneumatic standing desks. Explore our product lines to find the features you’re looking for in a height-adjustable desk.