Many office workers spend most of their days sitting at a desk, clacking away on a keyboard. These extended hours take their toll on anyone who spends too much time in a passive state, especially when sitting with poor posture for long periods. Over time, remaining in this position has a detrimental effect on several aspects of physical health and can even negatively influence a worker’s mental state.
As an alternative to spending a workday off their feet, many proactive employees seeking a solution to improve their health have elected to use a standing desk instead. These desks are specifically designed to allow a person to perform basic office duties while standing, negating many of the unfortunate side effects of sitting for long periods while providing additional benefits that promote a healthy lifestyle.
Here are five of the significant benefits of a standing desk while working:
Increases Energy and Encourages a Positive Mood
After long hours sitting, the body becomes fatigued as blood does not flow as well in that position as when standing. If you are on your feet at a standing desk, your circulatory system opens up, flooding your system with oxygen. This has a couple of positive results, as the increased supply to the brain increases attentiveness and focus while the rest of the body enjoys an added energy boost.
As you are less restricted in your movement, you can also move about a little more, which is good for your body. This extra mobility and freedom, coupled with the added O boost, is a factor in improving your mood and attitude, making it easier to get through a workday.
Lowers the Risks of Obesity
Many people attribute weight gain to how much time they spend stationary in a chair while working. These extended stretches also cause body fatigue and increase boredom, encouraging some workers to visit the vending machine for what is often an unhealthy snack.
Standing burns more calories than sitting and can make a difference in your weight over time, encouraged by the added benefits you receive to attention and focus through enhanced circulation. If you tend to move about while working rather than standing still, you will have even greater gains, which can keep you feeling loose and energized.
Diminishes Neck and Back Pain
Poor chair posture can result in many painful problems, most of which center around the spine. When the spine is out of alignment, it can cause a cascading effect as it sends pain signals, many of which transfer to the neck and back. Those two areas also experience their own forms of agony as blood vessels and nerves constrict. Other areas, such as muscles, joints, and spinal discs, can also suffer, adding to the general misfortune.
Standing gives you an excellent opportunity to straighten your back and legs, preventing many of these ailments. However, you still have to maintain proper posture, or you can still injure these sensitive body parts. Keep your shoulders back and stand straight rather than slouching forward for best results. Try to keep your feet shoulder-width apart as much as possible. When working, set your desk at elbow height so you can look forward at your computer and lessen the need to look down.
Opens the Door for Additional Exercise Options
One of the best benefits of standing is that your feet are free! Since you likely wish to stand rather than sit for health-conscientious purposes, this newfound freedom opens a realm of possibilities for additional exercise options.
There are treadmill variants that fit well under a desk and do not take up a lot of extra room, so you can even walk and work (or jog if you do not need stability for activities such as typing). Some companies even make small elliptical machines for your feet so you can use them while still keeping your hands available for work. A flow board is excellent for improving balance while building a solid core.
Many standing desks are adjustable, and while you should stand for periods of approximately an hour or more to earn the benefits of standing vs. sitting, you may wish to take breaks from time to time. You can make the most of this through other equipment variants, such as using an exercise ball for a seat or acquiring an under-desk stationary bike or portable foot pedals.
If you are not allowed to have this type of equipment in the office or the budget is tight, there are also exercises you can perform at your desk, most notably heel lifts. You can also do desk push-ups, gluteal squeezes, squats, or walking in place, among other stationary exercises.
Reduces Several Potential Health Risks
Taking advantage of a standing desk to get on your feet and engage in healthy activities can reduce the risk of heart disease as well as other ailments, many of which are encouraged through obesity, such as Type-2 diabetes. When you are standing, your body engages several muscles to keep your body in place and balanced, which burns around 50 calories more per hour than sitting by itself. Furthermore, standing for long periods helps reduce the potential of blood clots in the legs.
This simple change also helps stave off mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression, especially if you engage in additional exercise while working at your desk. Exercise, in general, increases energy and makes the body feel better, which is why so many people love going to the gym regularly. In addition, the absence of neck and back pain through positive standing posture can significantly affect the quality of life of anyone in a sedentary job.
The Bottom Line
Using a standing desk rather than a traditional one is a proactive choice to improve your health and overall body wellness. You should shoot for at least two hours on your feet during the day, with an optimum total of 4 hours for best results. Be wary of standing for too much at a time beyond this, as the blood can pool in the legs, which can be unhealthy.
A standing desk is a great way to add a bit of excitement to your day, improving your mood and energy while reducing the risk of obesity and neck and back pain. It also allows you to perform stationary exercises at your desk, making the most of your workday to improve your body and mind.
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