Are standing desks better for you than sitting desks?

Q:

Are standing desks better for you than sitting desks?

A:

Even though there are pros and cons to both standing desks and sitting at a desk, studies have indicated that there is no huge benefit of a standing desk.

The bottom line of these studies indicate moderation of both sitting and standing throughout the workday. While working at a sit down desk, do so for an hour or two at the most, then move around for a minimum of two minutes to five minutes and stand for at least ten minutes.

Walking around for a few minutes in between these two tasks adds to the benefits of using a variety of physical movement throughout the day (going to the restroom, getting a drink at the water fountain, using the stairs instead of an elevator) will help blood circulation through the muscles. Frequent mini breaks improve work performance, comfort, and reduces risk of musculoskeletal injury.

Here are a few downfalls to standing all day:

  • Prolong standing is tiresome.
  • Increases risk of varicose veins.
  • Motor skill performance diminishes.
  • Increases strain on legs and feet.
  • Workstations are expensive.

Here are a few downfalls to sitting all day:

  • May increase risk of heart disease.
  • May increase risk of kidney disease.
  • May increase risk of obesity.

Using a standing desk is not the all in one solution to the question of clerical worker health. In fact, the use of a standing desk serves only one portion of the frequent variety movement equation. A standing desk does not include movement as previously explained.

Standing all day is unhealthy. Sitting all day is unhealthy. However, if you apply both activities within a day; a variety of frequent physical movement within a workday will decrease the risk of many health issues and increase a healthier lifestyle.

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Written by John Hawes
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John Hawes is the CCO and co-founder at SureHire Occupational Health Testing. John graduated in 2001 from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy. As a former physical therapist, John uses his knowledge of physical therapy and interest in ergonomics and biomechanics to devise fit for work testing.

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