The More You Know: Benefits of a Standing Desk
By Dr. Molly Casey
People sit a lot. They sit at home in front of the television, they sit on bleachers at games, they sit in the car on the way to and from those games, and they sit at work -- and to and from work. The list goes on, but you will never be sitting your way to health.
Sitting is sedentary. Sedentary is not ideal for health and life. Life is motion and movement. To be sedentary is to be stagnant. Health is dependent on motion and movement. Sedentary lifestyles are associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The strength of the association is most consistent for diabetes. National Institutes of Health lists some of the risks of a sedentary existence:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain cancers
There are others too. The point is that decreasing a sedentary lifestyle is imperative to your health. So how can you do it? Initially you may say I can’t help it -- I need to drive to work, to the games, the bleachers are the only place to sit. Although driving can’t be helped, nearly everything else can be. I suggest trying to get the biggest bang for your buck. Let’s start with work -- get a standing desk.
Benefits of Standing Desks
Aside from a reduction of the risk for conditions noted above by the National Institutes of Health, there are other benefits to standing more while at work.
More inclined to move for tasks - When you’re already standing, you’re naturally more inclined to go walk to the printer, get that extra glass of water, take your lunch outside, or go talk with a colleague at their desk rather than have a conversation over a phone. Less sedentary equals better health. The likelihood for more movement along with the increased energy and muscle work it takes to stand during the day allows the body to burn more calories. Although the daily caloric burn may not be excessive, done daily for many days and years at a time, this can add up. Big changes come from small steps done repeatedly.
Increased bone strength - Bones get stronger with weight-bearing activities and exercises. This includes standing versus sitting. Why is this important? Osteoporosis is a condition in which the density of bone is diminished and more likely to fracture or break for no reason or with light daily activities. You need the strength of your bones to remain intact throughout your life if you want quality. Sitting all day does not work you toward this goal, standing does.
Better lymphatic movement - The lymphatic system moves waste throughout, and out of, your body. It is essential to your health. If you can’t clear waste, you become toxic. The lymph system is propelled through motion, through the movement of your body. So you must move to get it to work properly and move your body’s toxins. Standing all day is better and that associated lifestyle is promoting lymphatic movement and health -- helping you rid yourself of waste.
Better ergonomics - In my experience, standing at a desk promotes better posture. Better posture equals better health and life. Computer screens are more often at, or easily adjusted to, eye level. Forearm and wrist placements are adjusted with ease or have been professionally fit to the exact user. There is no back support that, unfortunately, promotes the unconscious rolling of the shoulders forward and down while doing work.
There are a lot of factors in life working against you and your health; prolonged sitting is one of them. You can do something about this. Choose a standing desk. If your employer is giving you a hassle, go to your chiropractor and get a note, and don’t think that not enough space is a viable excuse. There are modifiable units that can sit on an existing desk and be adjusted to serve as a standing desk as needed. If you have more questions on the benefits of the desks, or questions about the desks themselves, stop in to The Joint Chiropractic and let your chiropractor help you help yourself and your health!
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