In the last few years, desks that give you the choice between sitting down and standing up have become increasingly popular and if you work in an office, then you’ve almost certainly heard about them. It’s pretty much self-evident that it’s better to be on your feet for eight hours a day than off them, but buying a new minimalist desk is quite an investment and you’ll want to know the benefits before leaping right into a purchase.
That being said, once you’ve read a few of the hyperbolic headlines, claiming that ‘sitting is the new smoking’, you might start doubting whether the popularity of standing desks is really justified.
Today I plan to sort the fact from the fiction and explain why you should think about investing in an electric standing desk.
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Standing desks are, on the whole, good for your health. Over the last few years, a variety of studies have shown consistently that the risk of death for people who spend eight or more hours a day sitting down is significantly higher than it is for those who spend that time on their feet.
While, through diet and exercise, it is possible to mitigate many of the negative health impacts of sitting down, the fact of the matter is that our muscles aren’t built for that much relaxation. It’s not hard to see why either. Human beings first evolved to be hunter-gatherers who spent their days on their feet. It’s just not good for you to live a sedentary lifestyle.
From Alzheimer’s disease to obesity, the health risks of spending too much time sitting are wide in scope. That’s to say that there isn’t one condition you can pin to it but a wide and abstract group of potential risks. There certainly are benefits to standing you’ll notice in the short term–like an improved posture and a reduction in general aches and pains–but the real effects of a standing desk are in your long-term, overall health. If you’re the kind of person who likes to invest in your future and plan for your old age then a standing desk is certainly right for you.
How about the claims that they help you stay fit? Working on your feet all day really helps you to burn off extra calories.Well, the answer isn’t strictly yes or no. You won’t see much benefit in terms of calories burned just from standing up all day. Where you will see those benefits is in switching between sitting and standing. That’s when the real calories are burned. Shifting between these two modes on a regular basis throughout your working day will not only help you to keep your body in good working order, but it can also break up your day, which helps to keep you fresh and awake.
Most of the arguments you’ll hear against standing desks boil down to dismantling the overblown claims of excited journalists. Sitting down just isn’t comparably dangerous to smoking, and standing up won’t cure obesity on its own.
Those, however, are the only real arguments against standing desks that you’ll find. There’s no downside to using them. Of course, a standing desk isn’t going to cure a serious long-term medical condition like obesity but that doesn’t mean it can’t help to prevent or mitigate it. There aren’t really any decent arguments against having a standing desk because there aren’t really any downsides.
Standing desks are popular for a reason. They’re easy to use, they’re good for you, and there’s even evidence that they’ll improve your mood. Although there haven’t been many studies into the area, what evidence there is seems to show that people are just that bit happier and more energetic when they spend their days on their feet.
Your body doesn’t always know what’s good for it. In the modern world, we can do things evolution never accounted for. We can fill our food with fat and sugar and our bodies will just ask for more. Your body works best when it’s doing what it was built for, and, tempting though it can seem, you weren’t built to spend all day reclining.
It’s no surprise then that when you start giving your body what it needs, rather than what it wants, you feel all the better for it. Once you get a standing desk you won’t be able to stand working without one!