Managing Wellness

Standing Desks: Are They Worth It?

  • Standing can reduce shoulder and back pain and improve productivity
  • Prolonged sitting increases the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers
  • Alternate between standing and sitting, and move around regularly, for best health results
Posted by December 26, 2018

Standing desks are all the rage right now, but they aren’t just a fashion statement. Some people believe there are very real health reasons to have one. But these desks can also be expensive. Are they worth getting? Here are some of the health benefits you and your staff will enjoy if you invest in these trendy desks.

Get on Your Feet

After you’ve eaten, your blood-sugar levels will return to normal more quickly if you’re standing rather than sitting, reported the Harvard Health Blog. So if you only stand for part of the day, try to time it after lunch or breakfast. In addition, standing can reduce shoulder and back pain. Additionally, because prolonged sitting can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, it stands to reason that replacing some of that time with standing might help. In fact, Americans may increase their life expectancy by two years, simply by reducing their sitting time from six hours a day to three.

However, while it can help your back pain, standing by itself won’t do much to reduce your weight, according to the Harvard Health Blog. You only burn about eight more calories an hour standing versus sitting, but you burn more than 100 more calories if you’re walking. So, if losing weight is your goal, add in some movement when you’re behind a standing desk. Try pacing a bit as you work or do some exercises in between tasks. For example, do some squats right before lunch or do lunges around your office during short breaks.

These desks might help you mentally, too. A recent study by Texas A&M that call center employees had 53 percent more successful calls after six months with a standing desk. High school students have also demonstrated greater engagement and cognitive performance when using these desks in class.

Use These Desks Wisely

Don’t just jump into using standing desks; do some research first. For example, did you know that standing all day can be bad for your health, too? So don’t abruptly switch from sitting all day to standing. Instead, you’ll get the best results if you alternate frequently between standing and sitting. And while you’re standing, let yourself move and fidget. Trying to hold still for long periods of time isn’t beneficial to your health.

Another concern is price. If your budget allows, it’s great to have an automated desk that rises to any level and can be programmed for specific heights. But if you don’t have the room in your budget, you and your employees can still benefit from a more basic desk, plus a yoga mat to cushion your feet.

Standing desks might not be a magic cure for all your employees’ ills, but they can boost productivity and bring quite a few health benefits when used in moderation. So go ahead and try out a few in the office. Just don’t forget to throw in a mat, a yoga ball and a couple other workout tools to encourage short sprints of exercise throughout the day.

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