Humans were not designed to sit for twelve hours a day. That’s the argument at the crux of the movement toward stand-up desks, a growing trend that’s becoming the norm at Silicon Valley start-ups and tech companies across the country.
Let’s face it — we’d all rather be outside than working at a computer. For better or for worse, however, most young professionals’ jobs are now based around a keyboard and a screen.
Stand-up desks attempt to mend our desires (and our body’s needs) with the necessity of doing our jobs, even if that requires eight or more hours a day at the computer. Fortunately, the benefits of taking to our feet and not sitting down on the job have already been well-demonstrated, and the decision to stand is less taboo than ever before, even if you’re the sole ‘stander’ in an office full of slouches.
If you’re considering making the change to a standing work life, consider these motivating factors:
1. You Can Live Longer
The most striking reason to stand up may come from the studies and statistics already conducted, like one by the New York Times Magazine that looked at 123,000 Americans and found that men and women who sit for six or more hours a day have a 20 to 40 percent higher death rate than those who sit for three hours or less. Bottom line: Stand up, and you’ll be standing longer.
2. Reduce Back Pain
Although ergonomic chairs, desks, and back supports can go a long way to ease and alleviate back pain caused by a sedentary lifestyle, standing is the most natural way to cure chronic aches. By standing at a desk with our keyboard at a right angle in front of our elbows and a computer screen at eye level, we’re more able to control our posture, keep our shoulders back, and eliminate slouching that leads to discomfort and long-term problems.
3. Lose Weight
Just in time for your New Years resolution to shed a few pounds, standing up to work will keep calories burning at a faster pace than sitting all day. Standing alone requires more energy than sitting, but the flexibility of being on your feet also means you will likely be shuffling back and forth, taking steps in place, and even dancing at your desk. A few visionary companies even offer treadmill desks for those seriously motivated to keep the pounds off while they work.
4. Clean Up Your Desk Space
An often forgotten benefit of raising your desk space is the creation of close-at-hand but out-of-sight storage underneath. All of the clutter that typically junks up the top of your desk can now be stashed down below on shelving or in cabinets, within arm’s reach but without cluttering your work space.
5. Increased Productivity
With a cleaner desk and the inability to slouch and doze off, a stand-up desk can keep you focused and on task. Because standing is inherently slightly less comfortable than sitting, there’s less likelihood that you’ll waste time on the web or playing games. Standing creates a sense of urgency that helps keep our attention honed on our current project.
6. You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Transitioning to a stand-up desk doesn’t mean you have to commit to standing all the time. Many models now exist with adjustable heights, allowing users to shift between standing and sitting at will. A more economical option is simply to elevate your existing desk and use a barstool with a high back when you prefer to sit. Finally, many workers simply place their chair atop the desk to create a higher surface for their computer when they feel the need to stand (although it should be noted that this option doesn’t allow for the proper ergonomic keyboard height for long-term usage).
Have you tried out standing to work? If so, would you recommend it to others?
Chris Long is a contributor to Home Depot’s Home Decorators.com website and has been helping customers as a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago area since 2000. Among the home décor interests that Chris focuses on are patio furniture and computer desks.
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