Nowadays, most jobs have become tied to computers and desks, meaning employees spend more and more time working and sitting at their computers and desks. It’s believed that an average person spends between 8 and 10 hours a day sitting. There’s even a term in the medical community for this modern type of a lifestyle and it’s called ‘sitting disease’. This term is used for people who spend prolonged periods of sitting or people who are overall inactive. This can seem all fun and games, but in fact, this ‘sitting disease’ has a negative impact on people’s overall health (eg. increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and muscle inactivity).
The good news is that there are a few tricks you can do to prevent this from happening. You can make a few small changes in your lifestyle, for example, start using a standing desk while working. As a result, this will improve your health and well-being and you’ll finally get rid of that pain in the lower part of your back.
Risks of Sitting Too Much and How to Prevent Them
Before we continue, let’s take a quick look at the risks of sitting for too long and too much and what kind of effect that has on your health.
It’s shown that when you sit you’re less engaged and you use less energy compared to when you move or when you stand. Any type of extended sitting (eg. behind a wheel, at the desk or in front of your computer) can have negative effects on your well-being and cause you harm. Some analysis has even shown that those who spent for more than eight hours a day sitting and had no physical activity had increased risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease. People who sit for longer periods usually have a cluster of health conditions including high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and excess body fat usually around their waist.
To conclude, it seems clear that more moving, more standing, and less sitting contribute to your better health. To implement this in your workspace you can just start by standing rather than spending hours sitting at your desk. So, if your job requires working at a desk you can try using a standing desk or you can try a counter or a high table. Also, if you get a chance, you can even walk while you work.
There are a few more tips on how to improve your health and activity at work:
- Remember to take a break if you sit too long (recommendable every 30 minutes).
- Instead of sitting in a conference room for hours, try waking with your employees and colleagues during the meetings. The work can be done while walking rather than sitting.
- If you’re talking on the phone do that while standing instead of sitting.
Health Benefits of Standing Desks
When you’re standing rather than sitting you’re engaging more muscles which as a result, burn more calories. This can reduce your risk of obesity and excess body fat around your waist.
If your goal is to improve your health and your posture while working, using a standing desk might be a solution for you. Standing leads to a stronger core and a better posture, that’s why standing desk can benefit you. This type of desk can also help your blood to flow freely which brings more oxygen to the muscles which help you feel better. Using a standing desk can boost your energy and you’ll be more concentrated to complete your tasks, compared to using a regular sitting desk in which you’re more passive which can sometimes, makes you sleepy.
#1. Get Rid of Back Pain
When you sit for too long, your spine falls into the shape of a letter ‘C’ mostly because of moving your neck towards the computer screen. When your spine falls too often into a harmful ‘C’ it can cause some serious back pain issues. It seems that nowadays one of the most common health issues and problems that people have are related to back pain and back problems. The reason for that might be because most people, especially young ones spend too many hours working at their computers and sitting for too long. Those who don’t have time or will to exercise and be physically active usually have more serious back issues.
Using a standing desk and even standing at your desk for an hour can have positive effects on your health. This simple solution can relieve the stress of your spine shaped wrongly by sitting for too long. You can even choose a desk that you can electronically adjust.
If improving your posture, besides getting rid of your back pain, is your motivator you might want to consider getting quality standing desk mats which will make you feel like standing on a soft cloud while working. What’s better than that? Using a standing desk with the appropriate additions while working will make you feel better and happier knowing you’re taking care of yourself and your health while working. And that, as a result, will make you more productive at work.
#2. Be More Productive
Standing at your desk, rather than sitting, increases your productivity by up to 43%. Most employees who work while standing say that they feel that standing increases their alertness and productivity. They also believe that they feel more productive when they complete their tasks while using a standing desk instead of a regular one.
It takes time to get used to working while standing because we’re all taught that the job has to be done while sitting. Most people are concerned if they’d be able to complete daily duties and tasks including typing, answering phone calls or e-mails. Turns out, most people find it more efficient to work while standing than while sitting. When you’re standing you’re engaging your whole body and when the whole body is in better shape it works more efficiently and that’s why it’s understandable to expect that working while standing will boost your productivity. Related to that, it will also boost your energy which will put you in a better mood.
#3. Stay More Active
Unfortunately, most people don’t have enough time to be physically active. If you’re one of them and you’re concerned about that, investing in and using a standing desk might be a quick and easy solution for you to try to compensate for lack of time for exercise. Moving around a bit and standing is probably the easiest way to add some activity during your working hours.
If you’re not used to using a standing desk you’ll probably need some time to get used to it, especially if you’ve always worked while sitting previously. You can try and gradually get used to using your standing desk. Try using in for 45 minutes and then build it up to 90 minutes. Remember to listen to your body and what it’s telling you. If you don’t feel comfortable at first and you feel some pain, sit down for a while. The goal is to make this transition as easy as possible and to build up the resistance gradually.
#4. Boost Your Energy
Some of the first changes that people notice when they start using a standing desk are that they feel more energized. This makes sense since standing can boost your energy pretty much the same as coffee does. Standing can make you feel happier and it can improve your mood while sitting is linked to increased risk of symptoms of anxiety and depression. People who work while standing tend to feel more energized, more comfortable, more focused, happier, healthier and less stressed. These are some of the positive effects that the usage of a standing desk can have on employees.
#5. Live Longer
Sitting for too long can cause some health issues such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Some studies have even shown that those who sit for too long have increased chances of dying earlier compared to those don’t sit that much. If you’d like to save yourself from these diseases and be healthy, it’s advisable to start using a standing desk.
If you’re concerned about your health and well-being maybe it’s time to reduce sedentary time. Reducing that will improve your not only your physical health but also mental and metabolic health. Getting and using a standing desk in your work environment is a small change that can have dramatic effects and make a difference for you and your life.