Standing Up for Work Can Improve Your Health and Productivity
Two recent articles in the New York Times have highlighted one of the inherent detriments of the typical 9 to 5 job: prolonged sitting is bad for your health. Many options now exists for standing while working, including an adjustable desk that can allow you to change positions over the course of the day.
Research has shown that people who stand at work tend to be much healthier than those who sit. Extended periods of sitting, thus being sedentary, can lead to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. One study found that a woman’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome increased 26% for every extra hour of sitting. Prolonged sitting in an upright position can place strain on the back resulting in chronic pain. Blood clots are another risk of being inactive.
Periods of standing throughout the day can improve circulation, muscle tone and vitality. The increased weight bearing on the skeleton is good for maintaining bone strength. You may even lose weight. Standing for just two hours during an average workday can burn an extra 280 calories. In one year, that could potentially provide a weight loss of around 20 pounds. Research has also shown an improvement in the metabolism of fats and sugars, which results in an improved lean body mass to fat ratio.
Getting out of your chair can also offer psychological and productivity benefits. Standing while you work improves concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain. Many who stand state that their thinking is clearer and they have an improved ability to focus on problems. Some also report feelings of improved self-esteem and social development.
There are several options for accomplishing standing at work. Initially, one could use props or books to elevate the computer on an existing desk to a height that is comfortable. However, this in some cases may not be workable or ergonomically correct. NYT writer Farhad Manjoo suggests standing at a kitchen island or counter, if one is available, however, he did note that because the height wasn’t exactly correct, he suffered some neck strain and pain. Novelist Philip Roth used a lectern as a desk.