Is Standing at Your Desk Better for You?

It depends:). The short answer is yes, standing at your desk is normally better for you.

Stand up desks allow you to work while standing instead of just sitting in your office chair. 

Personally, I love the idea of being able to stand while working as it gives me better mobility.

I can easily grab something I need because I can go and get it. I don’t have to go through the process of even thinking about if I really want to get out of my chair to go get the thing I need. 

I can just go and do what I have to do instead of having to move away from my chair first before I can stand to get something.

Also, I find that standing makes me more productive. When I am sitting, I tend to relax and slouch and end up being lazy. 

However, when I am working at my stand up desk, I am more focused and I am able to complete more of my tasks.

It is also obvious that working on a standing desk for office gives you better posture than sitting in a regular office chair. 

standing desk for office gives you better posture than sitting in a regular office chair.

According to Dr. Peter Ottone, DC, a chiropractor from New Jersey; working at a stand-up desk, even for just part of a workday, can help minimize imbalance and maintain proper alignment of the spine and better muscle symmetry.

As I wanted to find out the best stand up desk that will work for me, I also came across some information that I think will be beneficial for you.

Are standing desks better?

Standing desks are gaining more and more popularity each day. According to U.S.News, 44% of employers subsidized or provided a standing desk to their employees in 2017 from only 13% in 2013.

This shows that people are starting to realize the benefits of using a standing desk in the office. 

Despite the benefits of standing desks, you should keep in mind that just like any other inventions, it does have side effects.

 According to the Strait Times, standing for too long can cause swelling of the ankles and feet and compression of the spine if you are not used to standing for long periods of time. 

Over time, compression of the spine can lead to lower back problems. So, before you decide on using your stand up desk, you should not stop sitting completely.

Transitioning From Sitting To Standing

Gradually ease your way into standing while working. Do not force yourself to stand for your entire workday.

Slowly transition from sitting to standing while working. Follow these steps for an easy transition:

  1. For the first few days, give yourself 15 to 30 minutes standing at your stand up desk.
  2. Then the next week, try to stand longer, about 45 minutes to 1 hour until you are comfortable standing at your stand up desk while working.
  3. Always listen to your body. If your feet are starting to tire, go ahead and take a seat. Resume standing again after a few minutes or whenever you are comfortable.
  4. Many experts suggest that you use a standing desk timer for when you need to stand or sit.  Personally, I do not find this beneficial as it affects my focus. 
  5. I’d rather listen to my body and sit when I need to. However, if having a standing desk schedule works for you, then go for it.
  6. Gradually ease your way into standing while working. Do not force yourself to stand for your entire workday. It’s okay to take a break and sit if you need to.

Standing vs. sitting at work

Prolonged sitting can increase the risk of diseases associated to sedentary lifestyle.

People sit way too much. However, our bodies are not designed to sit all day. When you sit for too long in the same position, you are putting your health at risk.

Just the same, prolonged standing can also cause health issues and conditions. This means you should balance it out.

Listening to your body is important. When you feel uneasy or your body starts to ache, move your body and stretch a bit. Walk a few steps to and from your desk.

Relax your muscles and go back to work after a few minutes.

Standing Desk Benefits

Standing desks have gained popularity over time due to their numerous benefits:

  • Standing at work for 15 to 30 minutes can help reduce your risk of obesity and weight gain. According to the study conducted by Mayo Clinic, standing a quarter of the time per day or more is associated with reduced odds of obesity.
Prolonged sitting can increase the risk of conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Another study published in the Sage Journal concludes that the substitution of sitting with standing could be a potential solution for a sedentary lifestyle to prevent weight gain in the long term.
  • Standing for 2 hours per day instead of sitting is associated with a 2 percent lower blood fasting sugar level average and 11 percent lower levels of triglycerides.
  • Standing can help lower the risk of diabetes and other metabolic diseases. The study conducted by the American Diabetes Association shows that standing and walking both significantly reduce glucose iAUC (incremental area under the curves). Compared to sitting, standing and walking also help reduce insulin levels. 

The study concludes that breaking up prolonged sitting with 5-minute bouts of standing or walking at a self-perceived light intensity reduced postprandial glucose, insulin, and NEFA responses in women at high risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • Standing while working helps improve productivity. A study published in Taylor and Francis Online shows that employees who were using standing desks were 45% more productive compared to their counterparts who were sitting.

Employees who were using standing desks were 45% more productive compared to their counterparts who were sitting.
  • Standing helps improve mood and increase energy levels. Standing while working helps encourage creativity and improve collaboration. A study published in Sage Journals shows that employees who used standing desks have reduced back and neck pains by 54%. 

Additionally, their moods have also improved. However, once the standing desks were removed, the improvements were negated within two weeks.

How long should you stand per day?

The amount of time you should spend standing at your stand up desk varies from individual to individual. However, experts agree that you should stand for at least 30 minutes per hour each day.

According to the study conducted by Jack Callaghan, a professor in Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology, standing for 2 consecutive hours can lead to lower back pain.

A sedentary lifestyle is associated with a lot of diseases. However, this is not a reason for you to ditch your chair. 

A sudden change from sitting to standing can cause pain and that pain is going to last. 

Be careful. Allow yourself to slowly transition from using a sitting desk to a standing desk.  

Stand for as long as your body can take. If you start to feel discomfort in any part of your body, it’s time to sit and relax. 

Stretch a little or walk a few steps after standing for a while.

How long should you sit for at a time?

Standing has a lot of benefits. However, overdoing it can also lead to health issues. 

No matter what they say about sitting, you need to rest your body, unless you want to end up in pain. If you really want to reap the benefits of standing while working, you should start listening to your body.

The rule is, once you feel discomfort or you feel tired and uneasy, take a rest and sit. 

The recommended sitting time is 15 to 30 minutes per sitting. 

When you sit for longer than 30 minutes, your metabolism will start to slow down. According to Gavin Bradley, director of Active Working, sitting for 30 minutes slows down the enzymes that move bad fats from your arteries to your muscles.

To prevent this from happening, keep standing and sit when you are tired for no more than 30 minutes. 

If you really want to reap the most out of the benefits of standing desks, you can also use additional customizations like a stand up desk with a treadmill. Make sure to stop when your body tells you to and do not hesitate to sit if you need to. 

A few changes will also help, like wearing flat shoes instead of high heels when working at your stand up desk. Such a small change can reap you a lot of benefits.

There are a lot of standing desk options available in the market to choose from. I have been researching stand up desks and I came up with a lot of information. 

Related Questions

Does standing reduce belly fat?

Standing alone cannot reduce belly fat. To reduce your belly fat, you should have a balanced, calorie-controlled diet and at least an hour a day of moderate activity like brisk walking. 

However, you can customize your standing desk to a standing desk with a treadmill to encourage physical activity which can help reduce your belly fat. There are a lot of standing desk options you can choose from that will fit your needs.

Can you lose weight by standing up all day?

Standing can help reduce your risk of gaining weight and obesity. However, standing alone is not enough to lose weight. You still need to do some exercise and maintain a proper diet.

To help encourage physical activity, you can use a standing desk with a treadmill. You can also use an anti-fatigue mat to help reduce stress on your legs. There are a lot of standing desk options available in the market so it’s easier to look for the best standing desk that is right for you.

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