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Stand or Sit... Does it Matter?

04 August 2021

Whether you make an effort to walk every day to work or get coffee at the cafe on the next block, how you set up your desk can have a substantial impact on health. According to research, sitting in one position for an extended time, even in an ergonomic office chair, can be harmful to both physical and mental health. Prolonged sitting is a contributing factor for all-cause mortality according to another study; people who sat for more than 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying within three years when compared to those who chose to sit for less than four hours per day, despite the person's physical exercise when not sitting.

It's no surprise that many people have resorted to using a standing desk. It is worth noting, though, that standing all day has its own set of issues. When it comes to building a healthy working environment, a workspace that enables you to switch sitting and standing postures using height-adjustable standing desks as ergonomic solutions maybe your best alternative. Research reveals flexible desks help lessen back discomfort without severely reducing productivity.

woman with backache

The Perils of Prolonged Sitting

According to a study, the average American spends more than half of their waking time sitting. Most Americans can spend up to 95 percent of their time sitting. Office workers sit for about 80,000 hours of their working lives, and that much sitting causes obesity, reduced HDL (good cholesterol), and decreased metabolic rate. Surprising number as it seems, we do it anyway. Then many others believe that it is not sitting that is killing us, but rather being entirely sedentary and our lack of activity, whether we are sitting or standing.

When we sit, all of our body's functions begin to slow down. The electrical impulses in your leg muscles freezes, calorie metabolism slows to one per minute, enzymes that help dissolve fat drop by 90%, and good cholesterol reduces by 20% after two hours of sitting, even with regular exercise. It has also been discovered that obese people sit for 2.5 hours longer than slim people. People who work in jobs where they sit most of the time have twice the risk of heart disease as people who work standing.

According to researchers, sitting is so detrimental that exercising regularly cannot counteract its harmful consequences. Those who conclude their day with a strenuous exercise but spend the rest of their day sitting are 16 times more likely to die of any cause in a given moment than those who do not sit for lengthy periods.

The Dangers of Standing Too Much

While standing is a terrific way to get off your bum and begin to combat the negative impacts of sitting, it is not the ultimate solution. Indeed, many say that standing all day is practically as hazardous as sitting all day.

  • Standing for a long time can cause the spine to squeeze, resulting in lower back pain.
  • Too much standing increases your chances of developing varicose veins and other cardiovascular issues.
  • Standing might also have an impact on the quality of your work. Standing impairs the effectiveness of numerous fine motor skills. This can make it harder to concentrate on more mind-intensive tasks like typing.
  • Another difficulty is creating the correct posture and ergonomics for your desk. If your standing desk is not positioned correctly to your height, it might cause additional issues such as neck pain or hand and wrist pain if the desk is too high.
  • Standing for long durations is exhausting and can place a lot of strain on the body.

woman standing in the middle of room

What's Good About Standing

Whilst excessive standing might lead to some difficulties, there are numerous health advantages to standing at work rather than sitting. Be prepared to be convinced, as this can be quite a long list!

On Pain

  • Stops Neck Strain - Long sitting periods often lead to you hunching your neck toward your computer as your spine creates the hazardous "C" shape. Standing at work helps to lengthen your backbone and reestablish your spine's healthy "S" curvature. When you use a laptop stand, your neck is in a neutral, unstrained position.
  • Relieves Lower Back Pain - People who suffer from back or leg problems simply cannot tolerate the pressure that extended sitting at a desk causes. Research validated what many standers already knew: standing desk users lessened back discomfort by 54%. Even a one-hour standing per day can help reduce the strain on your back produced by sitting all day. If pain alleviation is your primary motive for standing up, consider a height-adjustable standing desk that lets you effortlessly transition between sitting and standing, allowing you to find the ideal positioning for you and regulate your work environment.
  • Lessens Shoulder Pain - Bad posture causes our shoulders to stoop, creating pain. Standing at an ergonomic workstation effortlessly restores your shoulders to a favorable position.
  • Decreases Headaches - Individuals who use a standing desk report fewer and less acute headaches because it reduces strain. More research is required to determine why, but when you are in a comfortable posture and neck, and shoulder strain is minimized, headache discomfort is expected to decrease.
  • Avoids Leg Pain - The pulsating in your thighs is produced by your veins and arteries being constricted like a hose. Working using a standing desk allows blood to flow smoothly to your toes. Movement is an effortless technique to get rid of leg pain.

On Performance

  • Boosts Productivity - Standers complete more tasks. When you're using a standing desk, your blood circulation accelerates, and your energy level rises.
  • Increases Energy - Using a standing desk allows your blood to circulate properly and distribute more oxygen to your muscles, allowing you to feel better for extended periods.
  • Improves Lung Capacity — Sitting in a hunched shoulder "C" position strains your rib cage and reduces lung capacity. Using a standing desk helps to expand your lungs. More oxygen equals more lung function, which leads to improved physical and mental performance.

On Health

  • Promotes Circulation - Circulation is mainly correlated to so many other advantages. Even if you only stand at your ergonomic workstation part-time, your blood circulation improves, and you can dodge the myriad of ailments that affect people who sit all day.
  • Reduces Diabetes Risk - Exercise and movements are important components in the battle against diabetes. When you are idle for lengthy periods, such as while sitting, your body effectively takes a nap. Your metabolism slows, which can increase your likelihood of developing diabetes.
  • Decreases Cancer Risk — Sitting has been related to an increased risk of breast, colon, and endometrial cancers in research. The reason is unknown, but one suggestion is that excess insulin promotes cell growth. Another benefit of regular physical activity is that it enhances natural antioxidants.
  • Lowers Cholesterol — Standing can lead to decreased cholesterol and improved heart health. Anything that keeps our systems from slipping into "shut down" mode when we sit contributes to a better life.
  • Reduces Varicose Veins - Prolonged sitting or standing, according to studies, can both contribute to varicose veins. The best way is to shift between sitting and standing at your workspace is by using a height-adjustable standing desk or a standing desk converter.
  • Better Digestion - Your body pinches the digestive system when you sit, slowing its capacity to absorb and digest your meals. This commonly manifests as cramps, bloating, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal difficulties.
  • Lessens Swollen Ankles - Poor circulation can cause varicose veins in your legs or swollen ankles. Standing up and flexing your legs might assist improve circulation and minimize leg problems.
  • Reduces Blood Sugar Levels - Standing after eating allows the body to metabolize carbohydrates more efficiently, lowering blood glucose levels. After meals, spend at least 3 hours standing while working at your standing desk.
  • Fewer Hemorrhoids - Excessive sitting indeed increases the likelihood of growing hemorrhoids. Another compelling reason to stand at work!

On Fitness

  • Train Your Core - Without even realizing it, standing works your core muscles. You may use a standing desk to activate your abdominals without even thinking about it.
  • Weight Loss - Standers claims to have lost 8 to 15 pounds in the first 90 days. Our bodies have an enzyme called LPL, whose sole function is to reduce fat from our bloodstream. LPL goes dormant when we sit, so it retains fat instead. Yikes!
  • Burn More Calories – Standing burns 50% more calories than sitting. That implies you will burn 50 extra calories every hour.

Final Word

After learning all this, think about your need and goals, especially in health and wellness, for the long haul. Remember that prevention will always be better (and a lot cheaper) than cure. Ergonomics and standing desks are not just fancy trends; they are beneficial. If not, why all this buzz, right? A bonus? They are sleek, elegant, and can blend right into any space. Just take a look at them here! Switch to a standing desk today and start gaining these many health benefits.

You may head on over to FlexiSpot's FlexiWellness Center to learn more!