3 Reasons to Get a Standing Desk

Not only is a sedentary lifestyle associated with a greater risk for obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, but recent research has shown that sitting still for as little as 30 minutes can have detrimental effects on the body.

With so many workers now spending the majority of their days—and sometimes nights—sitting at desks and in meetings, here are just three of many reasons to rethink the sedentary lifestyle and get a standing desk.

1
You'll Combat Obesity

Caucasian businesswoman working at desk
Jetta Productions/Getty Images

An increasingly sedentary lifestyle is one of the banes of our modern existence—and a major cause of the obesity epidemic. By standing for at least two hours per day—the longer, the better—you can decrease your risk for weight gain and obesity.

If you are overweight or obese, you will find that you may lose some weight by standing more often. This is due both to burning more calories while standing as well as increasing lean muscle mass that can help improve your resting metabolism.

2
You'll Lower Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Male architect using telephone at desk
Siri Stafford/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Research has shown that sitting for as little as 30 minutes at a time without standing up or otherwise engaging in physical activity causes the beginning of a cascade of events throughout the body, a chain reaction that includes poor circulation, inflammation, decreased metabolism and endothelial dysfunction (dysfunction of the lining of the blood vessels).

In a study that examined heart scans and physical activity records of more than 2,000 adults living in Dallas, Texas, researchers found that each hour spent in purely sedentary time per day was associated with a 14% increase in coronary artery calcification (calcium in the coronary arteries, which is a marker of atherosclerosis, also known as “hardening of the arteries” or arterial plaque).

3
You'll Improve Your Posture

Chinese businesswoman looking out office window
Jasper Cole/Getty Images

Sitting at a desk, looking at a screen—feeling the neck and shoulder pain yet? Our increasingly electronically-based lifestyles have led to skyrocketing rates of poor posture and associated musculoskeletal pain as we contort ourselves into unnatural head and neck positions to view our devices.

In addition, when you sit for most of the day, you lose the core musculature and other biological mechanisms that help you stand up straight, maintain balance and coordination, and ultimately stay out of pain.

While you can create your own standing desk as cheaply as using a stack of books for your screen/monitor, a number of models are now available on the market, ranging from the affordable to the high end. Consider it an investment in your health that will pay future dividends for years to come!

Sources:

Thosar SS, Bielko SL, Mather KJ, et al. Effect of prolonged sitting and breaks in sitting time on endothelial function. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2014 Aug 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Kulinski JP, Khera A, Ayers CR, et al. Association between cardiorespiratory fitness and accelerometer-derived physical activity and sedentary time in the general population. Mayo Clin Proc 2014;89:1063-71.

Buckley JP, Hedge A, Yates T, et al. The sedentary office: an expert statement on the growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Br J Sports Med 2015 Jun 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Jacobs K, Hudak S, McGiffert J. Computer-related posture and musculoskeletal discomfort in middle school students. Work 2009;32:275-283.

Continue Reading