Is It Healthier to Stand at Your Desk?

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Is It Healthier to Stand at Your Desk?

Standing is the new sitting. Sitting all day isn’t in our nature, and there are plenty of studies supporting the fact, such as findings that obesity and diabetes are increased when you sit excessively all day long. However, is standing really better than sitting? 

As a general rule, standing at your desk is healthier than sitting.   The human body was designed for continuous activity throughout the day. In order to avoid sedentary issues, you should incorporate movement into your standing desk position.

This much is obvious in the standing versus sitting debate: Sitting all day in one place puts you at risk for health issues. However, how much better does that old saying stand up to scientific scrutiny? In my role as a chiropractor and ergonomist, let me clarify the issue by adding some thoughts about standing’s health benefits. 

Why Is It Better to Stand Than Sit?

All-day sitting is bad for your health. Whether or not you exercise regularly, it is not a good idea to sit too much since that is also unhealthy. People who prefer to stand up and work rather than sit down most of the time won’t have issues with their bodies getting fatigued or sick from staying seated for long periods.

Standing desks have been found to improve performance and cognition. Standing causes the body to burn more calories than sitting.  Furthermore, it improves blood flow, engages the core and gluteal muscles, stretches the body, and eases the pain associated with sitting for so long. Users have more energy and alertness than usual. You are more likely to suffer health problems if you sit for a long period of time.

Is It Healthier to Stand All Day?

When you stand for long periods of time, your body is affected by the arrangement of where you work and what tasks are completed. It determines how many different positions can be used while standing as well as their flexibility. This limits the worker’s freedom to move about or alternate which muscles they’re using because there are fewer options available when working in these rigid positions.

In other words, when the muscles of your body are always working, they can’t just take a break. When you’re sitting in the same position all day and not stretching out every once in a while, it’s no wonder that people often end up with aches and pains or even worse like carpal tunnel syndrome!

Is It Better to Stand Than Sit at Work?

Standing all day may be just as unhealthy as sitting all day. You may become less efficient over time if you stand all day at work. Standing requires more energy.  In addition, standing all day may increase the risk of varicose veins and make standing at work more tiring, and people with ischemic heart disease are more likely to experience carotid atherosclerosis acceleration from prolonged standing.

is standing 8 hours bad

Another point I want to draw attention to is that even standing can make you sedentary! I see far too many patients with neck and shoulder pain after they switch to standing desks. The best posture is one that moves.  In an ideal world, there should be a combination of sitting, standing and moving.

Benefits of Standing and Walking

A recent study found that swapping sitting with standing and engaging in light walking is a very good way to enhance insulin sensitivity, circulating lipids, and diastolic blood pressure in sedentary workers. 

Standing and walking may be especially helpful for those who are looking for ideas on how they can cut back on their sitting time as it may not take nearly as much effort as standardized exercise programs.

Medical Benefits of Standing

Our bodies were designed for constant activity throughout the day. As the tide of technology rises, there have been more ways than ever to exchange information, yet more hours are spent sitting throughout the day. If you stop moving for long periods of time, your body responds by shutting down and preparing for death.

intermittent standing desk

The act of sitting is not intrinsically dangerous. It’s the duration of time you spend sitting that creates the danger. While short periods of sitting are natural, long periods can harm your health and shorten your life.

Standing can offer many medical benefits, as it can help you avoid many of the conditions that may result from continued sitting or sedentary behavior:

Neck and Shoulders Pain

As you work at a computer or hold your phone to your ear, you may find that your head and neck are translated forward. Long-term, this can lead to neck sprains, structural imbalances, and chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Back Pain

You put more pressure on your spine by sitting than by standing, and bending over a computer will cause even more damage to your spine. It is estimated that nearly half of people with back pain spend most of their waking hours on the computer.

Disc Herniations

In order to take in blood and nutrients, the disks in your back swell and shrink as you move. As you sit, the discs shrink and lose their elasticity over time. In addition, sitting excessively can result in herniated discs.

Degenerative Core Muscles

When you sit, your abdominal muscles go to waste, which leads to weak abs.

Hip Problems 

Additionally, your hips suffer from too much sitting, becoming tight and having a restricted range of motion because they are rarely moved. The muscles in your gluteal area may become weak when you sit, compromising your stability as you walk.

Varicose Veins

If you spend lengthy periods of sitting, there is a possibility that your legs will become swollen, that you may develop varicose veins, and that you may suffer from deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Frail Bones

Engaging in weight-bearing activities results in stronger, denser bones. Weak bones and osteoporosis may be caused by prolonged sitting or inactivity.

Heart Problems 

Sitting slows the circulation of blood and reduces the amount of fat metabolized, which may lead to obstruction of the arteries. 

Increased Insulin Levels

An increased amount of sitting can negatively affect your body’s response to insulin, which might trigger your pancreas to secrete elevated amounts of insulin.

Cancer

Sitting too much is linked to colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. 

Digestive System Problems

Your stomach contents contract after you sit down, which slows the digestive process. 

Impaired Brain Function

Sedentary living slows down the function of your brain. If you reduce blood flow to your brain, your brain will not get the oxygen and fresh blood needed to release mood- and brain-enhancing chemicals.

Why Is Sitting Worse Than Standing

If you sit, it requires less energy than standing or moving. In addition to obesity, sitting too much can also cause a number of other conditions, such as hypertension, elevated blood sugar levels and excess fat on your waistline, as well as abnormal cholesterol levels. One’s chances of dying of cancer and cardiovascular disease are also increased by prolonged periods of seated time.

We know that it’s essential to refrain from sitting for hours at a time. Standing may be a viable alternative.  However, standing for prolonged periods of time isn’t ideal for everyone either, such as those with arthritis or cardiovascular issues. Movement is the key here.  The ideal position is a moving posture!

Disadvantages of Standing Desk

Aside from its immediate effects of standing are also unfavorable. There is a risk of back pain, joint pain, and tiredness.  In the same way that sitting can aggravate bad posture, standing can do the same if you don’t practice good ergonomics.

Several studies have shown that standing desks have no effect on productivity. Despite the popularity of sit-stand desks, there is little long-term research on their effects in the workplace.

Benefits of Standing Desk Posture

By standing at your desk, you will improve your posture. It is important to be aware of your back and neck when using this type of desk. It’s easy to slouch when seated, but should be avoided when standing for extended periods. As a result of standing, the back and neck muscles become stronger, improving spinal alignment.

Pros and Cons of Standing All Day

When muscles aren’t used, they can deteriorate. You lose them if you don’t use them, as the old adage goes. Alternatively, you can use a standing desk which forces you to use more muscles. The muscles can also be made more flexible as a result.

Final Thoughts

As a chiropractor and ergonomist, I’ve seen trends come and go. Do you remember the hype around ergonomic balls a few years ago? Although they do have some benefits, as I pointed out in this article about standing desks, there are also many problems with them. 

Ultimately it comes down to your needs—if you need one desk for multiple purposes (such as sitting at while reading emails or writing documents) then a standing desk might be worth considering. But if all you really need is an office chair that can accommodate both sitting and working on your feet, consider checking out our blog for the more useful information!

**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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