In society today sedentary behaviours continue to expand, especially in work environments due to a large increase in jobs becoming deskbound – people are tied to their computers and sitting at a desk. Combining this duration of sitting with behaviours outside of work an average person will sit for greater than 8 hours a day.
Prolonged sitting has been shown to have negative effects on our health such as an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, obesity, and early death.
The great news is that making a few changes to your daily routine can result in huge improvements in your well-being and help you attain a healthier lifestyle. Trying to stand and move more throughout the day benefits your mind, body, and overall health in numerous ways.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate more standing and movement into your day is to start using a sit-stand desk at work. For the average individual, the workday accounts for at least 8 hours of sitting every day. A sit-stand desk is a height adjustable desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing at your desk while you work.
There are countless health benefits of using a sit-stand desk, but here are five of the most important:
1. Reduces the risk of Chronic Disease
Not only does standing burn 30% more calories per hour than sitting but standing up activates the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Standing up also helps moderate insulin levels. When you lead a sedentary lifestyle, these essential processes begin to slow down, causing your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels to increase, along with your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
2. Get in extra mobility with minimal effort to help improve overall movement
Exercising for an hour every day, it will not be enough to overcome the ill-effects of sitting for 8+ hours a day. Low-impact movements such as standing, or walking play a much more important role in our metabolic expenditure and overall health than most people realise. Your body needs moderate movement throughout the day in addition to regular exercise to maintain peak fitness and health.
3. Relieve Chronic Pain
Many people experience chronic back or neck pain as a result of excessive sitting. Our bodies were designed to stand and move throughout the day, prolonged positions especially when in sitting puts a strain on our joints. This can cause chronic pain, herniated disks, and pinched nerves.
Lower back pain is number one in reported job-related disability, and costs around $85 billion per year in the healthcare setting, lost income, and productivity. Standing improves posture and puts your spine into a more naturally aligned position. When standing desks were introduced, 54% of workers reported a reduction in back and neck pain.
4. Enhance Brain Power
While 10 minutes of sitting can negatively impact your circulation, 10 minutes of standing is all it takes to increase an individual’s focus levels. 70% of employees who reduced their sitting time by just one hour a day reported improved their mental focus throughout the day. When you’re more focused, you’re able to work more efficiently and get more done. Standing stimulates circulation, which sends more oxygen and nutrients to your brain. Sitting, on the other hand, inhibits circulation and starts negatively impacting your blood flow in as few as 10 minutes. The physical movement also encourages neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells), specifically in the regions of the brain associated with critical thinking.
5. Increase mood and energy levels
Standing and moving in small bursts throughout the day will overall increase your energy. 87% of employees using standing desks reported feeling more energetic as a result of standing more during the workday. Standing will allow you to keep energy levels stable, preventing the mid-afternoon slump. Being on your feet, moving around also increases alertness, which aids focus and concentration.