Standing desks (also known as sit-stand desks or height-adjustable desks) are coasting on a wave of popularity these days. Once a rarity, they’ve become a common sight in many traditional and home offices, and several employers swear by the benefits they offer.
What are these benefits? Apart from the fact that sit-stand desks can boost your productivity by up to 50%, they also offer immense health benefits. And several groundbreaking studies also suggest that standing desks can help improve your mood and focus as well.
Are these claims accurate, though, and are standing desks effective to the degree that’s being purported? We’ll examine exactly how and why standing desks can improve your productivity and wellbeing in this article.
Standing Desks Help Improve Mood and Energy Levels
It’s not the most talked-about attribute of standing desks and several commentators simply gloss over this fact but standing desks can give your mood and energy levels a massive boost.
A 2011 study conducted over two months revealed that 87% of workers studied, who used standing desks, experienced increased excitement and energy levels while at the workplace. According to the study, these workers were less fatigued, stressed, and apathetic than their counterparts who remained seated throughout.
When these people returned to a seated desk, their mood and energy levels returned to normal, according to the same study. Anxiety and despair have been connected to spending prolonged periods in a seated position.
Standing Desks Lower Your Risk of Weight Gain and Obesity
The surest way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume, either by eating less or exercising more. It’s therefore, entirely plausible that using a standing desk may help reduce your risk of gaining weight since people typically burn more calories when they stand than when they stay seated.
The Journal of Physical Activity and Health attempted to find a definitive answer to the question of whether staying upright can help keep extra weight off. Their study revealed that people burn 88 calories per hour while standing, as opposed to 80 calories per hour when they stay in their seats.
The difference is marginal, suggesting that standing desks may not have a profound impact on weight gain or loss. However, the slight differences will add up to something significant over time.
Standing May Lower Your Risk of Heart Diseases
Seating for prolonged periods and other manifestations of a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to obesity, which comes with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. According to the World Health Organisation, one way to tackle the menace of obesity and heart disease is to remain active.
Either by maintaining a regular exercise schedule or by simply standing and moving, you can significantly bring down your risk of developing coronary heart disease. Regular movement helps with increased blood circulation, which reduces the risk of blockage or clotting.
Using a Standing Desk May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
A person’s blood sugar level increases during meals. On days when you spend more time upright than staying seated, your blood sugar levels return to normal much faster. This is one of the most significant reasons why you need a standing desk in your office.
A study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that standing for a few hours at work instead of sitting reduced blood glucose excursions by 43 per cent. This is one of the most often cited studies linking standing employment to a lower risk of cardiometabolic illnesses.
Diabetics are less likely to encounter serious symptoms when their blood sugar levels return to normal rapidly. Because prolonged sitting after a meal has been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, adopting an upright position is likely to help with overall damage reduction.
Standing Desks Appear to Reduce Back Pain and General Pain
Office chairs, no matter how ergonomic, may not be able to completely protect you from chronic pain of all kinds. This is because the human body is not designed to remain in a single position for prolonged periods. For context, the average employee may spend as much as twelve hours each day in a seated position.
The soft disks between your back vertebrae are compressed if you spend most of the day seated. This implies your spine is less flexible and more vulnerable to injury. You could be putting 40-90 per cent more pressure on your back than you would if you were standing erect.
However, using a standing desk may significantly minimize lower back pain and all other kinds of chronic pain. Workers who utilized standing desks reported less back pain after three months of use, according to a Stanford University study. Throughout the day, people were less concerned about pain. The accumulated weight towering over their lower backs was stretched out by the height-adjustable desks till they no longer experienced chronic spinal pain or pressure.
Effects of Prolonged Sedentary Behaviour
Before the pandemic, when people had to commute to work and generally encounter little physical exertion, the number of people living a dangerously sedentary lifestyle was high. Those numbers are likely to have skyrocketed now. Now, according to research, only about 21 per cent of adults regularly meet the physical activity guidelines, while less than 5 per cent engage in up to 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
Sedentary lifestyles have been shown to have negative health effects according to recent research. Sedentary behaviour has now been proven in numerous studies to cause cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and early death in some cases.
Long periods of inactivity can slow metabolism and affect the body’s capacity to regulate blood pressure, break down fat, and control blood sugar. One study looked at data from 15 years and discovered that, regardless of physical activity levels, sedentary lifestyles were linked to an increased risk of early mortality.
Sedentary behaviour appears to have a negative effect on mental health. Sedentary behaviour is particularly harmful to one’s health because of its physical and mental effects. A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity were linked to an increased chance of having a mental health issue in one study with 10,381 participants. Sedentary behaviour is also linked to an increased risk of depression, according to a recent study that contained data from 110,152 participants.
Effects of Prolonged Standing
Just as seating for prolonged periods can be injurious to your health, there are also negative repercussions for remaining standing for extended periods. Working in a standing position frequently, according to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), can cause a variety of health issues, including aching feet, swollen legs, varicose veins, and neck and shoulder discomfort.
Another study suggests that people who spend more time standing at work are 232 per cent more vulnerable to heart disease than people who spend more time seated. Workers who indicated extended occupational standing as their principal work activity had the worst health outcomes among the four types of body posture or mobility examined-sitting, standing; sitting, standing, walking; and ‘other body positions.’
The human body isn’t built for any of the two extremes: prolonged seating or prolonged standing. The best solution is a mix of sitting, standing, and walking. Combined with a bit of walking, standing increases blood circulation, which helps protect the body against a wide variety of diseases.
Does Standing Boost Productivity, According to Science?
Productivity can be a really problematic term to define since it means different things in different contexts. However, to many people, being productive entails being more efficient at work and producing better results. And, according to science, standing can improve focus and clarity, and reduce mental and physical fatigue. All of these combined will result in increased productivity at work.
Standing while working shifts our weight and burns calories. People benefit from the energy in the same way they do from exercise, which can enhance their ability to concentrate. A burst of energy and heightened concentration come with standing to work.
Standing desks can help pupils focus in the classroom, according to a study done by Texas A&M University’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. Standing desks improved focus, executive function, and memory in first-year high school pupils, according to the study. Standing desks, like exercise, improve brain activity by increasing blood flow, according to the study’s authors.
It is also thought that standing and moving activate different parts of the brain than sitting does, which can help with solving problems and focusing. Standing a few times a day, whether for exercise or mental stimulation, can help you focus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should Businesses or Managers Consider Standing Desks to Improve Workers’ Focus?
Standing desks should definitely be considered by employers looking for ways to craft a healthy workplace because they promote improved posture and focus and have been shown by experts over several decades to enhance fitness levels at work.
How can standing desks improve your productivity?
Having the freedom to stand, sit, and move around at work allows you to be more productive. You are no longer restricted to where you can place your workstation or chair. You may now find the ideal workstation for you.
What are the advantages of standing desks?
Standing workstations have been demonstrated to boost productivity while also reducing pain in the primary muscle groups involved.