Updated: Mar 29
It’s time to stand up for your health!
“Sitting is more dangerous that smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death,” according to Dr James Levine, and the Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic is not alone. An increasing body of research shows that you can reduce your chances of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and back pain by sitting less.
Did you know that, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a survey showed, only 55% of Australian adults meet the recommended level of physical activity guidelines? That’s one in every two people that aren’t getting enough activity. So, why aren’t we getting in the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week? When you consider that the average working adult has a full-time, Monday to Friday, 9-5 job, and spends 70-80% of their workday seated at their desk, the picture becomes a little clearer. We spend more of our awaking hours at work than we do anywhere else.
Where is the time to exercise? Making small changes to your daily routine can make all the difference. Plus, Professor Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, suggests that exercise is not a fix for extended periods of sitting. So stand up! Sit-stand desks, or Variable desks, adjustable desks, whatever you want to call them, can benefit your health in many different ways.
Some information to take on board;
1. Standing Desks Relieve Back Pain
In Australia, lower back pain is the most frequently seen musculoskeletal condition in general practice. In 2001 more than 20% of Australians reported they had back pain.
The 2011 CDC ‘Take A Stand Project’ revealed that after a seven-week period, 50% of standing desk users reported their back pain has been reduced.
Even a one-hour standing at your desk will relieve the stress on your spine caused by sitting all day.
If back pain relief is one of your motivators for wanting a sit-stand desk, choose a desk that can be adjusted.
2. Standing Increases Your Productivity
Some participants from standing desk studies felt that standing assisted with their productivity and alertness too.
66% of participants believing they felt more productive when they completed work while using their standing desks.
3. Standing Increases Your Concentration
Standing increases blood circulation, thereby increasing your brain function.
When we sit for a long time, everything seems to slow down, including our brains.
In fact, 71% of people who used standing desks said they felt more focused than when they were slouching in a chair at their desks or hunched over a laptop.
4. Standing Reduces Your Stress-Levels
From time to time, everyone gets stressed out at work. Whether it’s because you have a looming deadline, or a complicated project. It would be great if we could reduce our stress-levels, even just a little bit?
According to 33% of participants, standing up instead of hunching over your workstation and grinding your teeth, actually does make you feel less stressed out.
Standing up, gives you the opportunity to stretch those tired muscles and shake off a bit of that fatigue and frustration.
Incorporate some deep breathing and you’ll notice an almost immediate calming effect that, lowers your stress levels, and lets you return to the task at hand in a much calmer mind frame.
5. Standing Reduces the Risks as a Result of Poor Health
Evidence suggests that sedentary lifestyles are associated with poor health outcomes including:
Type 2 diabetes
When in your chair, your calorie-burning slows to a third of the rate compared to walking. Your metabolism drops. As a result, your risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes grows. Standing up, for even just 1 hour a day, can reduce the risk of these effects on your health.
6. Standing Burns Calories
Under no circumstances is just using a standing desk at work a substitute for real exercise. Nothing will help you get more fit and healthy than regular exercise and a balanced diet. But there is some good news:
The simple act of standing instead of sitting may help you burn up 50 calories per hour. Although, that doesn’t seem like a lot. When you start using your standing desk for up to 4 hours a day, it all adds up.
So, quick, stand up! It must be time for a coffee or water cooler moment anyway.
More info can be found at startstanding.org
(* statistics have been reviewed from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. aihw.gov.au )