Standing Desks: 5 Reasons to Stand More

A standing desk or stand-up desk is a type of desk used for writing, reading or working while standing up or sitting on a high stool. Standing desks were popular in homes and offices during the 18th and 19th centuries, and they were custom-made to fit the height of the user. Modern desks are height adjustable, with ergonomics, to fit most people’s needs.

Happy at a new sit-stand desk

John M. enjoying his new Ergotron Workfit-S sit-stand workstation. Photo: jsmjr

Why Use a Standing Desk?

Today, more and more people are using adjustable desks to be able avoid sitting down. Here are some reasons why one should consider using a standing desk.

  1. Sitting down for long periods of time has been found to be associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Previous studies in different countries including the USA, Australia, Canada and Japan have shown that people who spent long hours sitting down at work and at home were more likely to die prematurely from a chronic disease such as heart disease and diabetes.
    Although there are not enough scientific studies yet to prove the benefits of using a stand-up desk, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle by standing more often may lower your risk for acquiring chronic disease.
  2. Standing burns a lot of energy to keep leg muscles straight and firm while doing other things. While standing is not like an exercise workout, you will use up more calories just by standing idly than by sitting. Just standing will allow you to burn around 100 more calories than when sitting down. However, when using a standing desk at work, one does not idly stand. You will be doing a lot more, and this can pile up the calories you may burn in a day.
  3. A standing desk allows you to be more alert and energetic. Teachers in Minnesota and Wisconsin have noticed that students who use standing desks in their classrooms are more energetic and focus better on their work. The use of standing desks in schools is an idea inspired by Dr. James A. Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, who encourages the use of stand-up desks in what he calls “activity-permissive” classrooms.
  4. Working on a sit-stand desk allows you to tone your muscles in the legs. Although the first few days may not be easy, standing for most of the day, instead of sitting, builds up strength and endurance in your leg muscles. Working on a stand-up desk actually encourages you to move around more than when you are just sitting down. Some people also use a treadmill with these revolutionary desks while working on a computer to burn more calories and tone their muscles.
  5. Standing while working improves your balance. Unlike sitting, where you are passively using your weight to lean against the seat and back of your chair, standing makes you use your muscles actively to support your body and keep it in balance. And as long as you don’t stay in one position for a long time, working on a standing desk can help improve your circulation as you keep moving your legs and feet. This is an advantage over sitting, where your legs can suffer from poor circulation since they stay inactive, causing blood pooling to the ankles.



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