Would You Consider a Standing Desk?
A recent study by Toronto researchers shows a direct correlation between time spent sitting and a greater risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early death.
When you consider we’re not just sitting at work — we sit when we eat, engage in screen time or meet a friend for coffee — it’s easy to imagine the overall impact on our health.
Read this summary of the advantages and disadvantages of a standing desk to help you make an informed decision for your physical health.
Reduce aches and pains
One of the most celebrated benefits of standing versus sitting at work is the reduction of wrist, neck and shoulder strain that occurs at a traditional desk or work station.
Enjoy increased energy
Many standing desk enthusiasts report increased alertness and focus throughout the day. Another plus: standing doesn’t require a conscious effort to get up and move, which can stimulate creative thinking, collaboration and productivity.
It may extend your life
The most compelling reason to switch to a standing desk? Diabetes, heart disease and cancer have all been linked to inactivity. Sedentary behaviour has also been shown to cause muscle degeneration and organ damage, which can lead to early death.
Standing may reduce strain in your upper body but be prepared for sore legs and tired feet as you adjust to greater stress on your back and leg muscles. Comfortable shoes or standing on a gel mat can minimize any aches and pains.
Still need to move around
Like nurses, machine operators and retail salespeople who spend long hours on their feet, you’ll still need to take breaks from standing. If you are standing all day at a desk, it’s recommended that you move, stretch or sit for a brief period every 20 minutes.
For some people, standing can be dangerous
Prolonged standing isn’t recommended for pregnant women or those who suffer from varicose veins. For those with poor posture, standing for too long can also cause back pain, stiffness and locked joints in the spine, hips, knees and feet — which can result in damaged tendons and ligaments and lead to rheumatic diseases.
Will you sit or stand?
If your health is generally good, the benefits of a standing desk are certainly worth considering — especially when used in tandem with a comfortable ergonomic chair that provides support while sitting.
Find a company that will allow you to test a standing desk for a few weeks and return it for a refund if it doesn’t work out. That way you can give your body adequate time to adjust and still change your mind if you decide a standing desk isn’t right for you.
- Visit the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Wellness website for tips on promoting wellness in the workplace.