It’s regularly debated whether standing desks are better for you.
Those in favour point to the health benefits that standing provides over sitting. Are these “benefits” backed by science?
Standing desk benefits – and disadvantages
Anecdotal evidence suggests that standing desks enhance job performance, reduce fatigue and improve quality of life. They’ve been credited with aiding weight loss, enhancing good posture and improving orthopaedic health.
This is anecdotal evidence. What does science support? The answer is – not much. Research on the benefits of standing desks has been limited to small studies. Most have produced inconclusive results.
Disadvantages of standing desks
Standing in one position for any length of time has its own health drawbacks. These include foot pain, swelling of the legs and cardiovascular problems like varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis.
Although there’s scientific proof substantiating the connection between prolonged periods of sitting and high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, neck and back pain, and even premature death, there’s nothing to suggest that standing desks are the solution.
Why? The cause of these health-related problems is long hours of inactivity – both sitting and standing.
Do standing desks help prevent back pain?
Neck and back pain is one of the negative side effects of sitting for any length of time. Can standing desks prevent back pain?
According to medical experts, a standing desk can improve posture and take pressure off the lower back and neck.
However, standing in the same position for hours can actually cause lower back pain. This suggests inactivity is the core healthcare risk in the workplace.
Does a standing desk help you burn more calories?
Reduced weight gain – even weight loss – is one of the selling points of standing desks. The effort the body makes to stand apparently burns more calories.
A recent study conducted with a small control group supported the premise that standing burns more calories than sitting. However, the difference in calories burnt is negligible. You will lose more weight taking a brisk 30-minute walk.
Tips for using a standing desk correctly
As with all office furniture and equipment, it’s essential to customise a standing desk.
Ideally, the desk should be height adjusted so that your forearms can rest lightly on the surface of the desk. The top of the computer screen should be level with your eyes. You should stand with your knees slightly bent, shoulders relaxed and neck straight.
How long should you stand?
Using a standing desk all day can cause muscle fatigue, lower back pain and discomfort.
The optimum solution is to spend one hour standing and two hours sitting, interspersed with stretching and walking.
Are there better workplace solutions?
Standing desks may be beneficial in the workplace, but they don’t mitigate the risks of hours of inactivity. A height-adjustable desk, paired with a good ergonomic office chair, promotes best posture. This allows for constant flexibility and mobility while sitting.
Investing in an ergonomically built office chair and adopting healthy habits, like starting and ending the work day with exercise, is an easy and cost-effective way to boost health and wellbeing.
At K-Mark, we manufacture an extensive range of high-quality office chairs – and our chairs are used by leading corporations across the country. Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.