What’s so good about standing desks?
We all love a good sit, but what about the benefits of a standing desk?
21 Apr 2020
Are you sitting comfortably? Probably. Even before our current situation, most of us spent a lot of time sitting – at work, at home and preferably on our commute if it wasn’t too busy. And that’s only gone up with no meetings to walk to, friends to visit or journeys to work. And while we all love a good sit, this isn’t necessarily the best for our physical and mental health.
The solution could be a standing (or more accurately) sit/stand desk. Sit/stand desks are adjustable desks that allow you to, you guessed it, raise the desk so that you switch between an upright or a seated position. So why would you put yourself through this? Sitting’s great… right? Here are a few reasons why you might want to make standing at your desk a regular thing.
It’s good for your body
This one’s probably pretty obvious, but what might not be obvious is quite how big an impact a more upright existence can have.
For a start, those spending an equal amount of time sitting and standing burn an extra 1000 calories a week, since you end up using more muscles. Not a massive amount, but every little helps when you’re trying to self-isolate from the fridge.
More importantly, studies have shown that those stand more halve their chances of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes compared to those who sit the most. And it’s known to help with your posture.
So a few hours standing each day could be the difference between a happy body and an unhealthy one.
It’s good for your soul (or your mood anyway)
Standing at your desk can actually make you feel happier. In another study involving office workers, people reported feeling way less stressed.
This is partly because working on your feet has been proven to improve focus and alertness. In fact, it can boost your productivity by as much as 10-20%. That’s a huge jump. All that extra work getting done, means more time for the things you enjoy and less work-related anxiety because this or that didn’t get done.
That little bit of extra activity is also sending endorphins to your brain, helping stave away depression and worry. And we all deserve to give our mental health a little TLC right now.
It’s good for your energy levels
You’d think being more active would make you more tired but (spoiler alert) it doesn’t. In that experiment I mentioned before, 87% of the office workers involved said that they actually had more energy when they split their time between standing and sitting.
The best time to stand at your desk is after lunch, for this very reason. When we eat, when can get a big spike in our blood sugar levels, leading to a crash afterwards. That’s usually why we get that mid-afternoon slump. But when we spend time standing after a meal, we reduce that blood sugar level spike by a little over 11%. Bye-bye slump.
How to get started
Now, immediately going from a very sedentary to a standing workday might seem a little daunting. But here are some tips to make it a bit easier:
#1: You can start with a pile of books, rather than diving straight into the real deal (like this Alphason Standing Desk Convertor)
#2: Raise the desk (or pile up a stack of books) so that your keyboard is just below elbow level.
#3: Start with 30 mins to an hour of standing at your desk. Gradually working up to a 50/50 split will help while your body adjusts to this new (better) posture.
#4: Don’t set a timer to tell you when to sit or stand. This can interrupt your concentration, so it’s better to make the switch when you get to a natural lull in your work. Or, as we mentioned, do it as soon as you’re back from lunch.
So why not try it out and take a stand!