Working from home has become common around the world as people learn to live through the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, the working from home concept will become a new normal, even after the pandemic is all over. This is because many employers have found that their employees’ productivity has not been negatively impacted through their transition to working from home, and its actually resulted in increased productivity for some.
So, for those of us who are working from home, whether that be temporarily or indefinitely, a standing desk is something that is extremely useful and good for our bodies. But why? Because there is a wide variety of physical and mental health benefits.
The Impact of Long Hours of Sitting
Everyone knows sitting for too long is bad for your health and humans were built to stand up. So, if your job requires you to sit and stare at a computer screen for eight hours a day, wouldn’t you like to be able to stand and sit as you please? After someone eats a meal, their blood sugars will return to a normal level at a quicker rate if they are standing, compared to sitting down.
Standing also reduces the risks of chronic pain associated with sitting at a desk, such as shoulder, neck or back pain. Long hours of sitting are linked with higher risks of weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, anxiety, depression and more. Sitting for long periods can weaken your leg and glute muscles.
If these muscles are weak, you’re more prone to falling or straining when you exercise. And it’s no secret that sitting for long periods doesn’t help your body digest fats and sugars that you consume, instead it does the opposite, so you end up retaining them as fat in your body. Sitting also causes your hip flexors to shorten which can lead to joint problems as well as poor posture.
The list of physical implications goes on and on and it is important to remember that sitting for long periods of time also effects mental health. This is because people who spend too much time sitting down are missing out on physical activity which is crucial for a healthy mind.
Benefits of a Standing Desk
Being able to switch between standing and sitting while at a desk is proven to relieve discomfort. Having this ability can relieve back pain and other problems associated with sitting for too long. Another great factor is alertness.
While these desks don’t make you more alert, standing doesn’t make you less alert. Some people who are forced to sit at their desk all day may lose focus often. Switching between standing and sitting can help bring that focus back. Standing desks don’t hinder work performance which means using them won’t make you work slower than before.
The important thing for people to remember if they start using a standing desk is it should not be used just as a standing desk. The benefits come from switching between standing and sitting. Just like sitting for long periods of time is bad, so is standing. So how long do we stand for? Or how often should we alternate? There isn’t a definitive answer because everyone is different. What feels good for one person might not feel good for the next. Ultimately time and experimenting with a standing desk will help you decide.
How to Use a Standing Desk
To get the most out of your standing desk, be sure to move. The act of standing up and sitting down burns the most calories. Alternating between these two positions as often as comfortably possible is ideal and a recommended choice would be every half hour. This is easier said than done so you might want to try setting a timer to remind yourself.
Another good tip would be to stand up while doing something other than constant typing, such as a phone call. Posture is another huge factor for both standing and sitting. When standing up, be sure your hips are tucked and stand upright and when sitting, be sure your knees are bent 90-degrees. Using your standing desk properly will improve your overall posture over time.
If you want to further your standing desk experience, you may want to invest in a cushioned mat to ease the strain of standing. Some other useful tips include listening to music to help you move while you’re standing, remembering to stand after eating lunch to help burn calories and ensuring that your monitor is level with your eyes.
The working-from-home era is new territory for lots of people and some may find it hard to stay active during these days. A standing desk is a great addition you may want to consider for your body, mind and even work habits. Because standing desks have been around for quite some time, they are becoming more affordable and there are lots to choose from online. If you purchase one for your home, take the time to experiment with it and find what works best for you. Standing desks are one of the many things that can make working from home healthier and more enjoyable.