Is Standing While Working a Healthier Choice?Posted: Feb 21 in Lifestyle by Craig Primack MD FACP
One of the latest ergonomic trends in the workplace is the sit-stand desk, which lets employees shift from a sedentary to a standing work style throughout the day. In fact, sit-stand desks are the fastest-growing employee benefit in the American workplace. But does your position really affect your health?
Studies have shown that those who sit for 8 or more hours per day increase by 125% their risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Sitting all day can also cause shoulder and back pain. It causes pressure in your disks to increase, making them more apt to bulge.
Standing, alone, is not the answer, however. Being on your feet all day can cause physical pain and discomfort, lower back, knee and foot problems, and a lack of productivity. Experts suggest that a combination of sitting and standing is the best practice to improve overall health and attention to work.
Employees who use sit-stand movable desks have been found to suffer less from fatigue and lower back issues. In addition, research shows that those who can both sit and stand lose weight, show improved mental health, have a greater life expectancy, are more engaged in their work, and exhibit more productivity than those who only sit or stand.
All available research shows that a combination of sitting and standing is the ideal set-up. If you are unsuccessful in lobbying for sit-stand desks in your place of work, don’t be relegated to 8 hours of sitting. Try to stand every 30 minutes or so; take walking breaks; and do stretches as you are able. Changing position, dancing or pacing is recommended, as appropriate. This will help keep the disks in your back hydrated and combat some of the other health risks of a sedentary work style.
Keeping up a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious food and exercising is the best way to improve your life and its expectancy. But small changes, such as moving position frequently during the day, can go a long way toward improving aches, pains, body weight, productivity, and the risk of serious health issues. Try approaching your human resources manager to see if sit-stand desks might be an option in your workplace. There is a wealth of research to support the benefits of making this change – for both you and your employer.