The Benefits and Difficulties of a Standing Desk
At work, there’s been a new trend of using standing desks. Our CEO has had a treadmill desk for some time now, and perhaps others have been inspired to improve their health. I jumped on this trend as well–as I don’t love sitting for 7-9 hours. Many studies have been coming out (like this one and this one) about why sitting all day is bad for your health.
- “Prolonged sitting, meaning sitting for eight to 12 hours or more a day, increased your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90%” – CNN Health
- “Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity.” – Annals of Internal Medicine
- “Scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body declines by as much as 90 percent.” – NYT Health
- “Sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality; the strength of the association is most consistent for diabetes.” – Diabetologia
Those are just a few disadvantages of the many. Increased risk of cardiac disease, diabetes, and a shorter life–NO THANKS! I was curious if perhaps, since Hungry and I are fairly active, we would be excluded from the risks of sitting, but alas, we are still subject to them. A lot of people don’t even think twice about sitting all day–just a typical work posture.
I’m definitely enjoying my standing desk. I like the feeling of being foot-tired at the end of the day and feeling refreshed at the same time. I swear sitting all day was making me feel flat and stuffy. I still take some sitting breaks during the day, but I stand for the majority of the time. It’s not all butterflies and unicorns–it’s tough! It certainly takes getting used to standing all day when you’re used to sitting. Let’s list out the benefits and the difficulties:
- Your muscles will strengthen. When you sit, you’re not activating the muscles in your legs. When you stand, many muscles are activated from your hips down to your feet.
- You will burn more calories. I know you like to pretend you don’t care about that, but I know you do. As you activate more muscles, you are using more energy, thus burning more calories. Simple science.
- You will increase the endurance of your muscles. Not only will your muscles get stronger, but they will gain endurance from standing for most the day. You will notice, at first, that your muscles will get tired really fast. Maybe it’ll be your feet first or your quads, but you will feel it! And then, as you struggle on, it’ll get easier and easier. That’s because you are increasing your muscle endurance through practice!
- Lower your risk of cardiac problems (and death). As stated earlier, studies are coming out tying sitting all day to cardiac problems, diabetes, and shorter lives. Standing all day will combat that to a serious degree!
- Your legs will become more defined. We just spoke to how your muscles will become stronger and have more endurance, but since you’re burning calories and working on those muscles, it’ll show! Those calves will look epic and fantastic.
- You need the right shoes. Standing on your feet all day takes a toll on the body. That toll can be a purely good one if you have the right shoes. Get good support and something that really helps your feet. For example, I have very flat feet, so if I’m wearing flats that have no support, I’m going to be hurting. Get inserts or good shoes for standing all day.
- Injuries speak their mind. If you have a bum knee or ankle, your standing time is going to be somewhat reduced. Your injured body part is going to tire out faster, so you may need to take more breaks.
This isn’t meant to convert everyone to a standing desk. But I do want everyone to think about moving around more during their work day, and not sitting for the full 8 hours. The detriment to your health is apparent with science backing it up. Take care of yourself. Try one out if you’d like–and give it a 2-week trial period. The first week may not be easy, but your muscles will adapt (and most likely for the better, too). We’re always looking out for your health! Use a standing desk to stay hungry and fit!