Standing desks are all the rage at the office these days. Ergonomically they make more sense, and research shows that standing helps us burn more calories than sitting all day. But is that really the reason Simon Says, “stand up!”?
In reality, standing vs. sitting for a 6-8 hour workday will generally cause the average person to burn 54 additional calories. That’s really not much – congratulations, you can now consume that extra half of your apple! No, the health benefits of standing (or actually MOVING) around throughout the day go far beyond 54 calories.
Sitting for hours on end can lead to negative postural changes (slouching in the shoulders and lower back), blood clots, edema, and even greater fatigue. At the same time, standing in a solitary spot for those same 6-8 hours can lead to the same health risks.
So, what’s the difference and why are standing desks so popular?
When we stand, we tend to fidget more, shift our bodies, and simply MOVE around more.
Movement is the key. Movement gets our brains going – we all want to be “smarter” at work and spark the creative juices! It helps regulate our body temperature and also leads to a reduced risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack.
Thus, the answer is not just to stand at your desk, but to move around. Some offices have incorporated treadmills attached to the standing desk setup, which certainly keeps you moving all day – but could also end up being a cautionary tale for those of us who struggle with walking and chewing gum!
Whether you choose to sit or stand at your workspace, consider the following suggestions to help you get moving throughout the day:
- Schedule stretching breaks every hour
- Schedule water breaks – walk to the water cooler
- Walk to the furthest bathroom from your desk
- Walk to your neighbor’s desk to deliver a message rather than sending an email
- Walk to the printer or fax machine multiple times a day to gather your items, not just once
- Invite a co-worker for a lap around the building once or twice a day
Not only will your body thank you physically, you may just find the movement clears your head and allows you to clear your focus while on the job!