As research continues to confirm the deadly effects of sitting for long periods of time, savvy workers are switching to standing desks and reaping the benefits. Notable advocates of tall work stations include Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway, among others. All sensed the inherent reward of increased creativity, alertness and physical stamina. What they may not have known is that standing desks can save lives.
Health perils of sitting
Linked with an increased likelihood of heart disease, inflammation, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer, lengthy periods of sitting are bad news for health. According to the Natural News article, “More evidence suggests that desk jobs and excessive sitting are deadly,” researchers at Leicester University in the U.K discovered:
“… the longer a person sits each day, the more likely he or she is to develop markers of metabolic syndrome, which include high levels of both glucose and fatty acids in the bloodstream. As it turns out, an individual’s metabolic rate, which represents the amount of energy expended while at rest, also plummets while sitting, which in the absence of proper exercise can lead to being overweight or obese.”
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic states:
“From previous studies we also know that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers (breast and colon).”
Thankfully, we need not succumb to such dire consequences of a sedentary life. When we take a stand for health, we can fend off disease while encouraging better focus, productivity, energy and zest. Not to mention a svelte waistline.
Stand-up and thrive
Instead of slouching over your computer for hours on end, consider a standing desk. Used by great minds throughout history, standing upright while working burns calories, increases blood flow, reduces neck strain and keeps us healthy. Steve Connor notes in The Independent:
“Scientists have found that a person’s metabolic rate crashes to a minimum when sitting and that standing up for an extra three hours a day, even without exercising, would on average burn off about 3.6kg of fat a year.”
And Chris Adams in “The Benefits of a Standing Desk,” observes:
“Another benefit of a standing desk is an increase in your focus, alertness and activity level. These all support each other. When standing it is easier to release restless energy. Combine that with the good circulation, stable blood sugar and an active metabolism and it is easier to focus on the task at hand. Many authors and statesmen throughout the centuries who swear by working at a standing desk have claimed that it helps get the creative juices flowing. It also fights fatigue and improves tiredness.”
If you are sold on the idea, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
– Place the computer screen at eye level to avoid neck strain
– Arms should be kept at a 90 degree angle
– Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart
Also, do not purely stand throughout your work day as this increases the risk of carotid atherosclerosis along with varicose veins. Gentle movements such as shifting weight from one foot to the other as well as an anti-fatigue mat are helpful to keep leg circulation humming.