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Is Standing at Work Really Beneficial?

27 April 2023

A person who does a desk job sits for about 8 hours on average every day. Numerous studies have been conducted that suggest that sitting for long hours is detrimental to health. But thanks to technological advancements, human work is constantly being reduced, and most jobs can now be done with a click of a button, which means most jobs require individuals to be seated in their chairs in front of the computer all day, every day.

The lack of physical activity in our day-to-day life has led us to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Experts say sitting is the new smoking, which suggests how dangerous sitting is for health.

One way to protect yourself from developing consequences of a sedentary lifestyle (and prolonged sitting) is to spend more time standing at work than sitting. There's been a lot of hype around the benefits of standing at work over sitting. But you may want to know if the hype is actually worth it. Well, this blog is just about whether standing at work is as beneficial as people say it is.

Consequences of Prolonged Sitting at Work

Before we walk you through if standing at work is beneficial and, if yes, what benefits does it offer? Let's first see what prolonged sitting at work means. Experts have got good reason to call sitting the new smoking.

Below are the consequences of prolonged sitting at work in detail:

You Gain Weight

One of the most prominent and usually the first consequences of sitting for too long is weight gain. Sitting for long hours will eventually lead to you gaining weight because sitting doesn't burn any calories. Most people leave their workstations for lunch and return right after having their meal and continue to sit till the end of their shift. Consuming calories but not burning them is bound to cause weight gain.

Your Leg Muscles Weaken

Sitting doesn't use the leg muscles, and prolonged duration of not being used eventually results in the weakening of muscles. The weakening of muscles will affect the stability of your body as you stand and walk, and thereby, pout put you at a greater risk of injury.

You're at the Risk Posture-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Most people sit in incorrect postures. Sitting for long hours is harmful to your health, and the risk increases by several folds when you're sitting in the wrong posture. Sitting for extended durations strains the muscles and the back, and an incorrect posture worsens this strain and puts you at a massive risk of posture-related musculoskeletal disorders, which are characterized by pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. If not addressed on time, they could lead to lifelong disabilities.

Increases the Risk of Heart Disease

Prolonged sitting also increases the risk of heart diseases like heart attack and stroke. One of the reasons for this is that sitting for long hours leads to compromised blood circulation. Since the leg muscles are in a state of inactivity, the blood starts to pool in the legs, which increases the load on the heart, which puts you at risk of developing heart conditions. The pooling of blood also puts you at risk of blood clot formation; if these clots mobilize, the consequences can be severe!

Increases the Risk of Type-2 Diabetes

A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of type-2 diabetes by increasing insulin resistance. If you spend a lot of time sitting every day, you're at a high risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Is Standing Better Than Sitting?

Standing is definitely better than sitting, and we say this for numerous reasons. Although standing requires more energy and effort than sitting, it's actually beneficial. Below are some of the ways standing at work benefits you, which makes standing at work better than sitting.

Burns Calories

As we said earlier, sitting can result in weight gain because you don't burn calories while sitting. In contrast to that, standing helps you burn calories without doing much work. Standing can burn as many as 100 to 200 calories per hour. Although the number isn't huge, standing for several hours would add up to the number, and the effect will be quite visible.

Keeps Your Mind Active

It's easy to go in a relaxed mode when you're sitting. A relaxed mode means your mind is relaxed, too and you may start to feel lazy and dull at work which can affect your productivity. When you're standing, your mind gets into an active and wellness mode. You're more alert and active and are able to concentrate on work better. With that, your productivity improves and you're able to deliver higher-quality results.

Reduces the Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Sitting for long hours puts strain on the body, especially the back, neck, and shoulders. When you're sitting at work and aren't conscious about your posture, you may be sitting with your back curved, shoulders slumped, and your neck bent forward, all of which can lead to pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. Standing at work improves your posture and reduces the strain on the body due to incorrect posture. As a result, the risk of posture-related musculoskeletal disorders is greatly reduced.

Reduces the Risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Have you ever noticed that your wrists fall, and you rest them on the keyboard as you type if you've been typing for a while? You may think that you're giving your wrists support, but in reality, this position of the wrists can strain the wrists, compress the nerve passing through, and increase the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, characterized by tingling and numbing of the fingers. However, when you're standing, you can keep your arms positioned at a good 90 to 100 degrees angle and ensure the correct placement of the wrists on the keyboard.

Improves Circulation

To keep you standing upright, your leg muscles have to constantly work. There are continuous micro-movements in the leg muscles (contractions). These micro-movements ensure the blood doesn't get pooled in the legs and flows freely to and from the legs. This has numerous benefits. Firstly, it ensures that the heart doesn't get overburdened, and thus, the risk of heart disease is greatly reduced. Secondly, healthy and smooth blood circulation prevents the formation of blood clots and the development of conditions like varicose veins.

Enhances Mood

Another reason standing at work is better than sitting in that standing ensures a good and positive mood at work. As we said earlier, standing shifts your mind to a wellness mode. You stay more active and productive at work when you're standing. When you're active, fresh, and perform well, you'll naturally feel good about yourself and everything in general. Working while standing enhances your mood and has a positive impact on your mental health in general.

How Can You Make Working While Standing Comfortable?

One of the first questions that may have popped in your head when we said standing at work is better than sitting is how you can make working while standing comfortably. Imagine standing with your back curved, and your head bent forward because your desk is too low for you. Well, this is where you're wrong. You can't use a regular desk to work while standing. You need a standing desk like Pro Plus Standing Desk (E7) or a sit-stand workstation to work comfortably while standing.

A standing desk comes with an adjustable height feature that allows you to adjust the height of the standing desk to suit your comfort needs. It ensures that you don't have to stand with your back curved (in the case desk is too low) or your back, neck, and shoulders stretched (in the case desk is too high). The best thing about these ergonomic workstations is that you can alternate between sitting and standing. Standing for long hours at a stretch can actually be harmful. The best practice is to alternate between the two working positions so that you aren't in any one posture for too long.

Closing Word

To sum it all up, standing at work is actually worth it! However, you've got to make sure that you aren't standing the entire day. Doing so will tire and exhaust you out, which is exactly what you don't want. Invest in the right standing desk and alternate between sitting and standing every hour or two to get the maximum benefit from this excellent ergonomic investment – the standing desk!