When presented with the option of having a standing desk – of course I said yes! I had recently written a blog post about how much we spend time sitting …. So YES I want a stand up desk. I dreamed about how many more squats I would do and how my Fitbit numbers would soar and how much fitter I was going to be just by standing. Yep …. Sign me up!!!
And – after 2 weeks what do I think? Well – first some context.
It has been said that too much sitting is the modern health equivalent of smoking. More than a dozen studies conducted over the past decade suggest that too much sitting leads to more disabilities as we age. It doubles the risk of diabetes and heart disease. And could even shorten our lifespan. Harvard researchers found in a that the more time participants spent sitting at work, driving, or watching TV, the greater their risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or strokes. Yikes! I better stop sitting!
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So does that mean we should all run out and get standing desks? Not so fast – standing all day is not necessarily the answer. Standing all day in one place will probably not help shed extra pounds, improve your heart or reverse all of the other things that come along with the sitting disease.
While standing still does burn a few more calories as our hearts work harder to circulate blood upward, it also puts more strain on our veins, backs, and joints, especially if we’re overweight. So …. Now what is a girl to do?
Moving is the Answer
Some obesity experts do argue that standing at a workstation encourages us to move around more and, hence, burn significantly more calories. It has been found that office workers who were given a sit/stand desk for a month reduced their time spent in a sedentary position by 38 minutes a day compared to when they used a traditional desk. Keeping the body moving helps improve cholesterol, blood sugar, and high blood pressure. So – research suggests that moving your body is the key. Good thing we already knew that!
I did find that when I had my desk in the standing position (I have one I can easily move up and down.) I did move more. I was more likely to get up and walk around. I am not sure if I did that because I was already standing – or that my legs and feet were getting sore from standing for an extended length of time. Plus – the research suggests that we should sit for no more than 20 minutes at a time, but also only stand in one position for no more than 8 minutes at a time – and for the other 2 minutes of that ½ hour – get up and walk around.
Do I like it? Yes. Would I buy one for my home office? Jury is still out. Here are my final pros and cons.
Things I Enjoyed!
More energy: Standing kept my blood flowing and my mind more alert. It is a lot harder to get sleepy at your desk if you are standing. Plus – when I was doing some tasks I felt more creative.
Posture and core strength: Standing all day and maintaining a good posture really added to the strength of my core. I did not however gain any glute and quad strength – because I didn’t do all of those squats I was dreaming about! And my Fitbit numbers did not soar as previously planned.
Ready to Move Your Body: I did actually feel like I was better prepared to jump up – because I was already up – to start moving.
Things I did NOT Enjoy!
Soreness: I was SUPER surprised about this. I mean – come on – I am active and I am used to being on my feet. However – standing in one place takes a different kind of toll on your body. I had sore feet, legs and lower back. Just something to think about. It did get easier over time – but standing all day was much harder than I anticipated.
Fatigue: If you work long days it can get a little rough toward the end. I realize the whole idea is that the standing is good for you, but after a while, even the hardiest of folks will start to get a little fatigued. Plus, if you are running around to meetings or putting in time on the treadmill during lunch – there were days I just wanted to sit.
Mind Fatigue: While I did feel more creative when I was standing – there were times when I really needed to concentrate and I felt like I needed to sit down to figure out a task.
What are your thoughts? Have you tried one? Do you love it? Would love to know!
Remember – move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!