Should you have a standing desk or traditional desk? When should you sit, and when should you stand?
Without a doubt, there are numerous negative effects of regular, prolonged sitting. Over time, these negative effects can even cause cascading health issues. If you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk, you are probably very familiar with a few of them. But there are many that may surprise you. Take a look at this list.
Dangers of sitting too much
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Weak legs
- Weight gain
- Increased risk of certain cancers
- Slows down brain function
- Shorter life span
- Altered posture and alignment
- Muscle tension
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Decreased overall cardiovascular health
- Increased risk of depression
- Increased risk of anxiety
- Poor digestion
- Poor blood circulation
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Higher cholesterol
- Bulging or herniated disks
- Slower metabolism
This has led to countless ideas and ergonomic products designed to alleviate the strain that long-term sitting puts on the body. One such product gaining in popularity over the last few years is the standing desk. What better way to avoid the pitfalls of sitting in a chair all day than to eliminate the chair altogether?
That leads us to consider the numerous negative effects of regular, prolonged standing. Good upright posture is necessary regardless of whether you are sitting or at a standing desk. This requires substantial effort from your muscles. Insufficient blood flow to loaded leg muscles used for standing increases pain and fatigue in your neck, back, and legs. Below are some other negative effects.
Negative effects of standing too much
- Long-term back pain
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Lower-limb muscle fatigue and swelling
- Increased risk of leg cramps
- Aching muscles
- Corns and bunions
- Increased pressure on hip, knee, and ankle joints
- Varicose veins
- Exacerbated coronary heart disease and arthritis
- Sore feet
- Neck and shoulder stiffness
What’s a body to do?
The human body is designed to move, not remain sedentary for long periods, whether at a standing desk or traditional desk. Ideally, you should have the ability to choose from a few different work positions in order to change things up throughout the day.
Setting up and maintaining an ergonomically beneficial workstation should be your first step. Next, you’ll want to introduce regular “micro-breaks” throughout your day, especially if you have a stationary sitting desk. About every 20 minutes, you should get up and move around or stretch. Even just one day of breaking up your sitting with regular movement can be beneficial in regard to several health issues like blood pressure.
If you have a standing desk, make sure you keep the chair nearby to utilize for sitting breaks. Regular walking around and stretching also helps. A standing desk still requires ergonomically setting up your desktop tools, such as your computer screen and keyboard, in order to help maintain an ideal posture.
Standing desk options
Another option currently available is the sit-to-stand adjustable desk that combines the best of both worlds. Combined with an adjustable chair and an anti-fatigue mat, it can go a long way toward a more healthy work environment. By changing positions and moving around regularly, you distribute the daily workload across more of your muscles. This reduces the stress on individual joints and muscles, and it increases your blood flow to those tissues.
So, which option is best for you? That may require a bit of trial and error to discover, but whether it’s a traditional seated desk, a standing desk, or a little of both, the tools are definitely available. Sign up here for a free 10 day trial of our Corporate Wellness portal for information and tutorials that can help guide you to your perfect workstation set up or watch this video: “How To Set Up Your Computer Desk and Ergonomic Chair Properly.”