Truth vs. Myth: Sit-Stand Desks
Adjustable height desks and worksurfaces are taking over offices and workspaces around the country as we continue to uncover the many health benefits of having the option to stand and move around while working instead of being confined to a desk chair, adding even more flexibility to our workday routine. Standing desks are the fastest growing benefits trend with 44% of employers providing or subsidizing them in 2017, a huge spike in popularity from the 13% in 2013. It’s easy to see why, after discovering that sitting for extended periods of time can shorten your lifespan! However, is everything we’re hearing about these remarkable new adjustable desks that will forever change the way we work really all true? Or are some of these benefits and tips just myths?
Truth: “Sitting is the new smoking.”
The phrase that people are currently using as rationale for investing in this rising trend is that “sitting is the new smoking.” It’s true, sitting as much as we are is doing some serious damage to our bodies. For example, weight gain, muscle degeneration, back and neck pain, an increased risk of depression and anxiety, and even a shortened life span. Think about it, we sit on our way to work, we sit while we’re working (including lunch breaks), we sit on the commute home, sit down for dinner, and then sit and relax, watch tv, or read, and then go to bed. Sit less and move more!
Myth: You should be standing the entire time you’re working.
This is a very common misuse of these adjustable desks. Standing for hours on end is no better than sitting. Rotate between sitting, standing, and moving in intervals. Follow the 20:8:2 rule, sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8, move around for 2, or choose time frames that work best and are most comfortable for you.
Truth: Standing for extended periods of time leads to just as many health problems as sitting for lengthy periods of time.
Standing for too many consecutive hours is dangerous too. You’ll experience lower back problems and pain, varicose veins, and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, and more harmful side effects.
Myth: Stand straight and still with your feet planted flat on the floor.
While you should try to stand straight and avoid hunching over or arching your back, your body can’t appreciate the many benefits of adjustable desks if you’re not moving. The purpose of the adjustable heights is to get you out of your chair and moving around more. Alternate legs, walk in place, even fidgeting can help. Move to lose...weight, that is.
Truth: Our brains perform specific tasks better while we’re seated.
We’ve come to believe that we’re more engaged, productive, and efficient, producing better quality work while we’re standing. However, tasks which require fine motor skills are actually performed better while sitting down. But, our creative problem-solving skills are enhanced while standing. Consider this while alternating between work tasks and working positions.
Myth: Using a sit-stand desk is an extremely effective weight loss tool.
Studies have shown that using a standing desk for three consecutive hours burns about 24 calories; as much as one carrot. Weight loss goes hand in hand with movement. So, instead of standing for three hours straight, alternate between sitting and standing more often, move around while you’re standing, and take frequent trips to fill your water bottle (another very important step in weight loss...drink lots of water).
Truth: Standing in intervals and using the desks properly does have many health benefits.
Although some things you may have thought true about these miracle desks are actually just myths, they still deserve some credit. When used properly, in intervals, and with regular movement, you can obtain may health benefits like strengthened muscles, improved overall mood and mental health, increased energy, and so much more! So, don’t alter your opinion about these trending new workstations just yet.
Myth: Set a timer to remind yourself when to stand or sit.
Although you should rotate between working positions in intervals, a timer can disrupt your focus and concentration, reducing your productivity and efficiency. After being disrupted, it takes about 25 minutes to get back into your focused state, which is around the time that the alarm will go off again. Instead, alternate in intervals which work best for you. After your body adjusts to your new routine, you won’t need to watch your time at all. Listen to your body as well, it does a great job of telling us when it’s uncomfortable and we need to do something different.
Before purchasing, make sure you understand the proper use for these incredible, adjustable workstations to ensure you are taking full advantage of each and every obtainable benefit. Do your research about sit-stand desks and find the one that fits into your price range and work style. Lastly, remember to move!