The Pros and Cons of Standing All Day

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The Pros and Cons of Standing All Day

Many people stand all day for work or are beginning to use standing desks. As a chiropractor, I know how bad back pain can be and why people are often concerned that standing for long periods could be bad for their backs and health. With standing desks becoming more popular, standing all day has become a normal part of many peoples’ workdays. But is standing good for you? The answer isn’t so simple because there are some pros and cons to standing at your desk for 8 hours a day. 

As a general rule, standing all day is healthy and does not significantly affect your health. Standing all day can be physically exhausting and cause discomfort in some parts of the body. The best way to avoid potential problems is by making sure you take regular breaks from standing throughout the day. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of standing all day and offer tips on choosing between sitting or standing while working!  Let me explain why you should read this: For almost 30 years, I’ve worked with patients (like you!) practicing chiropractic; I’m also a trained ergonomist; I’ve published a book on posture; spoke on this subject on national tv;  engineered several solutions to improve comfort while sitting, and had a successful Kickstarter campaign for a posture correcting device. So, I’m confident I can impart practice and helpful advice on the pros and cons of standing all day in this post!

Is It Healthy to Stand All Day?

Standing is a natural human posture and does not pose a health risk in and of itself. Nevertheless, standing for extended periods can lead to problems including sore feet, swelling of the legs, varicose veins, general fatigue, low back pain, stiffness in the neck and shoulders, and other health problems. 

Most people understand how their body begins to tire and hurt after a few hours of standing. While standing for long periods is not necessarily unhealthy, you should always listen to your body. If you feel tired, take a break from standing by either going for a quick walk or sitting for 10-15 minutes, especially if you suffer from back pain

What Are the Pros and Cons of Standing All Day?

pros and cons of standing

Pros: Standing may improve blood circulation, which could help with cholesterol levels; it also burns more calories than sitting still, which makes standing at work a good solution for weight loss if done correctly. 

Cons: One downside is standing too long (as for an eight-hour shift) can lead to hip pain or low back pain syndrome due to prolonged pressure on specific areas of your feet, such as your toes or ankles.

Prolonged standing also affects digestion negatively by pushing our stomachs against our diaphragms, inhibiting them, and causing acid reflux. Furthermore, prolonged periods of standing increase stress levels, leading to more common gastric ulcers.

A standing desk is a good solution for avoiding back pain for some people. However, prolonged standing also comes with many of these outlined problems. For this reason, they may not be the best option for people with back or knee pain since standing can also cause chronic pain in those areas.  

Is Standing Desks Better Than Sitting?

Standing up all day has many benefits. You will burn more calories standing than sitting, leading to weight loss and a healthier waistline. Standing is also better for the cardiovascular system because it helps blood circulation.

is standing better than sitting

There are some cons of prolonged standing that you need to be aware of:

  • Leg cramps.
  • Back pain.
  • Muscle fatigue in knees and legs.
  • Increased risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis) or POTS syndrome (postural orthostatic tachycardia).
  • Varicose veins from prolonged standing without breaks.

If standing for long periods, you must take breaks every 30 minutes so your feet don’t swell up. It also helps if you wear athletic shoes or sandals instead of formal shoes and walk around from time to time. If these tips sound too much, try sitting on a stool intermittently while working at a standing desk.

Standing desks also have been shown to improve productivity because they reduce distractions caused by moving between activities. Standing desks also have been shown to help people to work, reducing the need for constant breaks to move. Standing desks are also sometimes easier on the body because standing is a more natural posture.

Is Standing 8 Hours a Day Bad For You?

is standing 8 hours bad

Standing for 8 hours is bad because standing in one position too long causes your blood pressure and heart rate to rise, as well as standing-related fatigue according to a 2012 study. So we should change our posture while standing up by stretching the neck muscles and back periodically.

This will keep the body from working hard at maintaining an upright stance; if you’re not moving around, then you don’t have to worry about any other physical issues that come with standing too long like swelling of arms and legs due to fluid buildup when sitting down for prolonged periods (unless you stand on something unleveled).

We’ve all seen the standing desk trend, and it’s clear that standing is a more natural position for our bodies. But many people are worried about standing too long, so let’s consider whether this could be bad for you. 

Suppose you stand up straight in your office chair with good posture while not moving around. In that case, you’re most likely okay to stay standing indefinitely (you may want to switch out what shoes or socks you wear, though), but if those periods where you need to work on other tasks don’t happen often enough, like when someone else takes over your task for a few minutes or even an hour, then standing can cause some severe health issues. 

Standing has been shown to increase blood pressure and heart rate ̶ standing for 8 hours a day can lead to standing-related fatigue, making it harder to concentrate or even be productive.

Standing for a long time can have drawbacks, but standing all day does not automatically equal bad for you.

Standing may be good if it’s done with the proper posture and in moderation – standing more than about two hours at one stretch is likely to cause problems ̶, so make sure that your standing breaks happen often enough! It doesn’t hurt to take these standing breaks because they’ll also let you move around.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about why your stomach hurts when standing, and here are some of the shocking issues I ran into in this post!

Intermittent Standing

intermittent standing desk

If standing only happens during brief moments, this might not do much damage; however, there are some consequences when standing becomes an everyday occurrence. Standing too long will lead to fatigue, resulting in difficulties concentrating ̶ or, even worse, decreased productivity. In addition, prolonged periods of standing have been linked to increased blood pressure and back pain. If you must stand all day for work (like many of us!), taking breaks from standing is important.

Intermittent Sitting

When you intermittently sit at your desk, it’s essential to take steps to avoid pain and discomfort. First, try to find a seat that has good back support. This will help you avoid soreness from sitting in the same position. Second, try an ergonomic seat cushion. This position will help to keep your spine in alignment and prevent pain. Third, take breaks often to walk around and stretch your legs. This posture will help keep your circulation going and prevent you from feeling stiff and sore. Next, get your seat height as high as possible while maintaining both feet on the floor. This will help to keep your legs from falling asleep. Finally, try to stay relaxed while you’re sitting. If you can find a way to relax your body, you’ll be less likely to experience pain. By following these tips, you can make your workday a lot more comfortable.

Best Seat Cushion for Intermittent Sitting

seat cushion for better posture

I have been a chiropractor for almost 30 years, and during that time, I have seen countless patients suffering from back pain. I have tried many different seat cushions, but I never found one that was perfect for my patients.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about memory foam and here are some of the shocking issues that I ran into in this post!

I wanted something that would provide support and comfort but also be able to help with spinal alignment. After doing some research, I decided to design my seat cushion and test it out on my patients suffering from back pain. After many attempts using various materials and designs, I ultimately created a seat cushion that worked like a charm, and my patients loved it. Not only did it provide the support and comfort they needed, but it also helped to improve their spinal alignment. Consequently, I decided to mass-produce my seat cushion and make it available to the public. If you are suffering from back pain, I urge you to try my seat cushion. It just might be the relief you’ve been looking for.

If you are into super easy and inexpensive alternatives to office chairs, I wrote a fantastic article on how and why you should consider these options for back pain and I encourage you to read it!

thespinery.com seat cushion

When it comes to finding relief from back pain, I believe that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, I have found that a good seat cushion can make a difference, especially for my patients with back pain or sciatica.  I’ve written a complete hands-on review about the best sitting position for sciatica and here is what I tested best with my sciatica patients.

That’s why I designed my cushion(above), made from natural latex and 4-way stretch vegan leather. I wanted to create a durable, comfortable cushion that is durable and easy to clean. After months of testing different prototypes, I finally settled on a design that I am confident can help many people find relief from back pain. If you are struggling with back pain, I urge you to try my seat cushion. It just might be the solution you’ve been looking for.

I explain the concept of my design on a TV show HERE!

Standing Can Cause Acid Reflux

Standing can cause acid reflux

Standing for extended periods can cause acid reflux, so we must discuss the adverse effects of standing all day on our digestive system! When standing too much, your stomach will be pushed up against your diaphragm, and this will inhibit digestion.

As a result, you’re more likely to experience constipation or diarrhea

Furthermore, if standing is causing increased stress levels, some studies link prolonged periods of standing with gastric ulcers (small lesions) in the lining of the stomach and esophagus; not good news for those who want their food journey to last a while longer than anticipated.

Finally, many people complain about back pain when they stand all day. It’s worth considering how standing all day can affect your back, as standing for too long has been linked to a higher risk of lower back pain and sciatica ̶ which is why you should stand up now and again (yes, you’ll have to get out from behind that desk!).

Conclusion 

It’s crucial to find the right balance between sitting and standing. Standing all day can lead to back pain, knee problems, and other health issues while sitting at a desk is easier on your eyes but may be detrimental to mental well-being if you have an office job that requires most of the work done from behind a computer screen. 

Finding this middle ground will allow for more breaks without feeling guilty about being lazy or not getting enough exercise. Those who are unable to stand up as often as they should due to long hours spent working might be worth investing in some anti-fatigue mats or furniture so that there are no-slip hazards when walking around near desks. 

Sources

  1. Gallagher, Kaitlin M., Troy Campbell, and Jack P. Callaghan. “The influence of a seated break on prolonged standing induced low back pain development.” Ergonomics 57.4 (2014): 555-562.
  2. Nelson-Wong, Erika, and Jack P. Callaghan. “Changes in muscle activation patterns and subjective low back pain ratings during prolonged standing in response to an exercise intervention.” Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 20.6 (2010): 1125-1133.
  3. Janice J Eng, Stephen M Levins, Andrea F Townson, Dianna Mah-Jones, Joy Bremner, Grant Huston, Use of Prolonged Standing for Individuals With Spinal Cord Injuries, Physical Therapy, Volume 81, Issue 8, 1 August 2001, Pages 1392–1399, https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/81.8.1392
  4. Reiff, C., Marlatt, K., & Dengel, D. R. (2012). Difference in Caloric Expenditure in Sitting Versus Standing Desks, Journal of Physical Activity and Health9(7), 1009-1011. Retrieved Jun 21, 2021, from http://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/jpah/9/7/article-p1009.xml
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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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