Sitting too much is bad for your health. But those who work in a corporate organization or office have no other option but to sit in the same place for hours.
In a typical work week, people spend an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk and 7 hours sleeping at night, according to a 2012 study by the British Psychological Society.
The study also found that those who sit longer at work are more likely to sit outside of work, and the more time one spends sitting at work was associated with a decrease in mental well-being.
Given the drawbacks of too much of sitting, health experts advise office workers to get up and move around from time to time. However, it is not always easy to just walk away from the task at hand.
One good solution is a standing desk, which is growing in popularity as workers and managers are increasingly aware of the costs of poor health due to sedentary lifestyles. A standing desk or stand-up desk is a type of desk where you can write, read or work on your computer or laptop while standing up or sitting on a high stool.
Using a standing desk helps reduce the amount of time spent sitting during the workday. Get one installed at your office and your body will thank you for taking this step.
Here are some of the key benefits of using a standing desk.
1. Prevents Obesity
Standing more than sitting in a day can help you to burn more calories, according to some studies. Burning more calories than you eat is the secret behind having a healthy body weight.
This is one reason that health experts recommend using a standing desk at work rather than the traditional desk and chair. Sitting longer is strongly linked to obesity and metabolic disease.
A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that use of standing desks in a classroom can cause a significant increase in calorie expenditure.
A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Public Health also concludes that a simple change in classroom furniture can slow the increase in elementary school children’s body mass index (BMI), a key indicator of obesity, by an average of 5.24 percentile points.
However, there is not yet consensus on this matter. Another 2016 study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health reports that standing for 15 minutes versus sitting for 15 minutes only resulted in burning about two extra calories. However, substituting periods of sitting with standing may not affect energy expenditure.
2. Reduces Cancer Risk
Lack of physical activity can increase one’s risk for various types of cancer. It is not clear as to why sitting appears to increase cancer risk, but it’s possible that sitting for long hours increases the level of C-reactive protein in people, which may be the reason behind it.
A 2015 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention found that spending more leisure time sitting was associated with a higher risk of total cancer risk in women, and specifically with multiple myeloma, breast and ovarian cancers. The higher risk was present even after taking into account BMI, physical activity and other factors.
However, the study did not find any association between sitting time and cancer risk in men.
3. Ensures Longer Life
If you’re among those who sit for several hours at a stretch, standing more may help you live longer. Standing ensures that your body is involved in some kind of physical activity, which in turn reduces the risk of different types of diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A 2012 study published in Diabetologia found that sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Moreover, the strength of the association is most consistent for diabetes.
Another 2012 study published in the BMJ Open found that by reducing sedentary behaviors, such as sitting and watching television, one can increase their life expectancy in the United States.
A 2016 analysis published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine examined 54 surveys on sitting time and found that sitting more than three hours per day was responsible for 3.8 percent of all-cause mortality (about 433,000 deaths in a year) among 54 countries.
Researchers concluded that reducing sitting time and promoting an active lifestyle can help stave off premature death.