“Sitting is the new smoking” – Can Standing Desks Help?

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Research has shown that when persons spend more of their day standing, they can reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease.  James Levine (Endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic) and other Scientists have concluded that a sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to us in the long run.  Far too many people sit all day then head to the gym and this brief bout of exercise cannot really combat the negative effect of prolonged sitting.

eatbetter (1)

 

How can we avoid this though,  when most jobs require extended periods of sitting? .

“The average office worker spends 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting each day at his or her desk, some describe the problem with a pithy new phrase that’s undeniably catchy, if somewhat exaggerated “Sitting is the new smoking” (Stromberg, 2014).

The  solution seems to be incorporating other forms of activity into the normal work day such as pacing, standing or any other thing that will keep us moving.

Stromberg (2014) cites 5 benefits of using a standing desk at work:

  1. Reduced risk of obesity
  2. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic problems
  3. Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  4. Reduced risk of cancer
  5. Lower long term mortality risk

Are standing desks really the solution for prolonged sitting at work?   After all, standing all day cannot be good for an individual either because this can lead to another set of problems.  Bahe in his article talks about the 7 things to consider before investing in a standing desk.

  1. The cost
  2. Long days
  3. Foot pain/soreness
  4. Back pain
  5. Lack of privacy
  6. Less focus
  7. You are still inactive

Group of businessman walking and taking stairs in an office building

 

Both Bahe and Stromberg agree that the solution is to find the balance. Splitting the time between standing and sitting seems to be a better solution for this ever growing problem. At the end of the day the most important thing is to move around as often as you can during the work day.

Here are some ways to help you overcome too much sitting at work.  These are things I do as often as I can throughout the day

  1. Park as far away from your office as possible, that way you have to walk a little to get to the office
  2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Seriously if you only have 2 or 3 floors at work you really do not need an elevator.   Every hour (whenever possible) I get up and go up and down a flight of stairs near to my office.
  3. Stand up sometimes when you are answering the phone
  4. Walk to someone’s office to give a message instead of calling or sending an email
  5. Try to get up from your seated position as often as you can during the day
  6. Use part of your lunch time to take a stroll outside or within the building if it is cold

One company that seems to have struck that balance is Varidesk, check them out if you get a chance.

 

References

Bahe, M. 7 Reasons Why You Don’t Want a Standing Workstation. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1s2yVY6

Stromberg, J. (2014). Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks.  Retrieved from  http://bit.ly/1g1IdNn


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12 Responses

  1. Koko says:

    I try and stand up. I am glad I have a laptop. I set it up at the breakfast bar and work standing. If I sit…I sit on a yoga ball. Stay tuned for a post on that! 🙂 If I do sit, I make sure I stand every 15-20 minutes and stretch, do squats, jumping jacks, something in between. Great post. 🙂

  2. I’d love to try a standing desk at work, I hunch over the keyboard most of the day!

  3. rachyt720 says:

    I stand all the time at my work desk. I wish I didn’t have to hunch over to type on the keyboard but I stand as much as I can.