Sitting has been labeled the new smoking, but is it as scary as it sounds? While sitting for several hours a day is inevitable for most people, it makes you think about the adverse side effects of a sedentary lifestyle on your long-term health. While it might seem hard to compare sitting and smoking, the health benefits of standing while working should convince you to take proactive steps to reduce the health risks of prolonged sitting.
Why is Sitting for Too Long Bad for You?
There are a few scientific facts that you should know about the risks of sitting for an extended time.
- It can cause your blood flow to slow down. Lack of blood flow can cause a build-up of fatty acids in your blood vessels, putting you at risk of heart disease. (source)
- It can put you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity. Prolonged sitting is linked to the development of insulin resistance. (source)
- It slows down your metabolism and lowers your body’s ability to burn fat. Sitting is known to reduce your ability to break down fat by up to 90%. (source)
The human body is designed to move. Sitting for hours means that your body isn’t active, causing insufficient blood circulation, especially in your lower body. Besides the aforementioned health risks, the lack of physical activity could lead to bodily aches and pains.
It is crucial to reduce the time spent sitting, even at work. Standing desks and treadmill desks have grown in popularity due to their ability to counter the adverse side effects of sitting at work. Discover the evidence-backed benefits of standing while working.
Benefits of Standing While Working
As of 2021, there was a 7% increase in demand for standing desks compared to the previous year. The use of standing desks is one of the solutions that employers have implemented to improve the wellness of their employees and boost workplace morale. Office ergonomics is crucial for workers to enjoy the following benefits from standing at work.
Extra Calorie Burn
You burn more calories when standing than sitting – that is a fact. Even if you are standing still, you are still burning approximately 100-200 calories an hour (whereas sitting burns 60-130 calories). If you were to sit in your office chair for 8 hours (or more), the slight difference in the calories you burn could add up over time.
Many wellness experts also consider a more important benefit to standing at work, which is beyond what the numbers offer. They are referring to the change in mindset. When you commit to standing instead of sitting when you work, you train your brain to prioritize wellness and fitness. This change in mindset will motivate you to incorporate more physical activity into your day instead of being content with a sedentary lifestyle.
Correct Your Posture
Consider this: you are hunched over the computer with your back and shoulders slouched. Sounds familiar? Sitting too long can lead to poor posture. Poor posture can bring about many health complications such as back pains, joint degeneration, and spine dysfunction.
You must align your back correctly and maintain good posture while working. Otherwise, you could be at risk for any health conditions mentioned above.
Standing while working can combat the potential side effects of a bad posture from a sitting position. While working, the ideal position is that the monitor should be within eye level and approximately 20 inches from your face. Your arms should be at a 100-degree angle. You should also be able to shift your entire body weight between both legs.
If you are standing while working, you will be able to train your body to assume the correct posture. On the other hand, sitting for too long can cause your spine to compress and risk spinal health issues in the long run.
Boost Energy Levels
A study published by the Applied Ergonomics Journal has revealed that employees who use standing desks at work for at least an hour feel more productive and energized.
Standing is one of the first steps toward adopting a more active lifestyle. Any form of movement, no matter how small, is beneficial in terms of keeping you alert and awake during work hours. As a result, employees are more engaged at work. On the flip side, workers who spend their entire working hours on a chair tend to be sluggish and lethargic.
If you feel a brain fog coming in, it’s good to stand up for a few minutes and move around.
Improves Mood and Focus
Aside from increasing your energy level, another one of the benefits of standing while working is an improved mood and more focus. Rest is good for the body; in fact, it is necessary. However, when you get too comfortable in your chair, your mind begins to wander, and you lose focus at work.
Contrary to popular belief, on the task at hand. It is attributed to a psychological aspect of your brain that instantly becomes alert when you stand up. Switching to a standing desk can, therefore, improve concentration and focus.
Lower Risk of Various Diseases
Standing can promote healthy blood circulation. Proper circulation is vital for achieving optimal health. When blood and oxygen are distributed throughout your body, your vital organ systems can function properly. Adequate circulation is also linked to improved heart health.
Here are some of the benefits of standing while working in relation to your physical health:
- It lowers the risk of weight gain and obesity.
- It can lower your blood sugar level.
- It can reduce your risk for heart disease.
- It can combat chronic lower back pain.
- It can raise your life expectancy by up to 2 years.
Switching to a standing desk or standing while working can offer plenty of health benefits. These benefits are why many health experts advocate standing over sitting and committing to this lifestyle change. Fortunately, there are plenty of ergonomic office products that you can use to incorporate more standing into your day to improve your quality of life and work.