Today more than ever, people are concerned about their health and wellbeing. One of the biggest health hazards, especially for office workers, is sitting for too long. A good deal of scientific research has linked a sedentary lifestyle with a higher risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity and hypertension. Is there a way to avoid sitting for many hours a day when you have to work in an office? The answer is yes.
Standing desks allow office workers to build more movement into their days. What is a standing desk in the first place? A standing desk is a motorized desk that allows the worker to lift or drop the desktop with the push of a button. Nowadays, practically all standing desks are electric. It means that an electric motor provides the force that allows up and down displacement of the desktop.
Several vendors offer standing desks in all sizes, shapes, and styles. Since a standing desk is an important investment, you have to select a reliable standing desk company to purchase from. Compare different options in the market. Don’t choose a standing desk based on price only. You have to compare the quality of materials, ergonomics, and visual design. Below, we will discuss the main difference between a regular desk and a standing one.
The Main Difference: Health Benefits
Different surveys have found that office workers spend many hours sitting. On average, a Canadian citizen sits 10 hours daily. At least 8 hours are spent on an office chair. A regular desk cannot do much to combat the health hazards of sitting for so long. On the other hand, a standing desk, as its name implies, allows you to stand while you work. Why do you need to stand during office hours? Are there any real benefits from doing it?
As mentioned, various studies have demonstrated that sitting for many hours a day is hazardous to your health. Some of the risks from sitting too much are:
- Chronic back and neck pain;
- Higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease;
- More stress and anxiety.
If you add to the equation the time you spend sitting while driving and watching TV, then you have an alarming number of sitting hours a day. No wonder some people have labeled sitting as the modern equivalent of smoking. But, is standing the ultimate solution?
Standing versus Sitting-Standing
Now, it is clear that the main difference between a regular desk and a standing desk is the position you can adopt with each one while working. Standing has been proven healthier than sitting. However, health professionals have long debated whether standing is the ultimate solution to the problem of sitting for long hours at work.
There is no doubt that standing has its benefits for your health. By standing, you burn more calories than just by sitting. On average, you can burn an extra 0.15 kcal per minute by standing instead of sitting. But standing for 8 hours a day won’t burn as many calories as you would by exercising. For example, an adult weighing 70 kg would burn an extra 54 kcal if they stood rather than sat for six hours. Not bad, but health experts advise burning 400-500 kcal a day to lose weight and remain healthy.
Therefore, while standing is good, it won’t solve all your health problems alone. Here, it is important to differentiate between two types of standing desks:
- Fixed-height standing desks;
- Sit-stand desks.
The first type allows office workers to only stand at work, whereas the second type allows shifting between sitting and standing. With the understanding that standing is not exactly the opposite of prolonged sitting, sit-stand desks bring more health benefits. With a sit-stand desk, you can spend a few hours sitting. Then, when you feel the need to stretch your muscles, you can shift to a standing position. Such a shift allows for more movement of your body.
Lead a Healthier Lifestyle with a Sit-Stand Desk
So, the best solution for your health is to alternate between sitting and standing during a working day. What’s more, you have to incorporate some additional practices to be healthier at work. The first action toward a healthier lifestyle in the office is to get rid of your regular sitting desk. Next, replace it with a standing desk, preferably of the sit-stand type. Electric sit-stand desks are very practical as they allow adjusting the height of the desktop with the push of a button. You can fix the height to the optimal value according to your body height.
You should also include other actions to improve your health during office hours. For example, you can hold meetings while walking if the number of participants allows it. Be creative and find ways to move more at your office.
Things to Consider While Selecting the Correct Standing Desk
Selecting a regular desk reduces to a few criteria like size and style. That’s not the case with a standing desk. Another difference between the two types of desks is the selection process. To choose the correct standing desk for you, the following factors play a role:
- Weight capacity. It refers to the total weight the standing desk can lift safely. If possible, estimate the weight of all the objects you usually keep on your desk: computer, printer, books, and more. The correct standing desk should be able to lift slightly more than the estimated weight;
- Adjustment speed. It is the time the standing desk takes to go from sitting to standing positions (or vice versa). Usually, the faster, the better;
- Noise level. Contrary to regular desks, standing desks utilize motors to adjust the height of the desktop. In some cases, these motors can generate some noise. If you need quietness to work, then select a standing desk with a low noise level.
There are other factors to take into account and that differentiate standing desks from regular ones. In general, standing desks are more expensive than regular ones. But the benefits for your health justify the extra cost.
Hayley Mann is a technology enthusiast specializing in automation methods of ergonomics devices. Her engineering background helps her to create interesting articles on technical topics, making them understandable for all readers.