Are Standing Desks Really Good For You?
Work, as we all know, is necessary. If we’re lucky and dedicated, it can sometimes even be rewarding. Still, it’s past time we admitted what we all know to be true: When it comes to our physical and psychological health, the daily grind can be, well, a grind. Getting up, going to work, and sitting at (or is that chained to?) your desk for eight, ten, and sometimes twelve hours or more every day for the next forty years sounds like a prison sentence rather than a career. Even the most exciting career paths can be taxing under these conditions! But what if there was a way to transform even the most mundane of tasks into something that has been proven to improve the health and well-being of those who engage in it?
Well, it just so happens that the standing desk is just such a marvel, and the standing desk benefits are amazing. Like most true innovations, it’s so simple that anyone who uses it will wonder why they themselves never thought of it. In fact, the benefits of routine use of a standing desk are so numerous that the only real way to discover them is to use one for yourself. To understand why you should, and what’s in store once you make the switch from a life lived sitting in a desk chair to one embraced while standing on your own two feet, keep reading!
Standing Desks Make You Smarter
Let’s get something straight right off the top: Using a standing desk won’t turn you into the next Da Vinci if you weren’t born with it. Nothing will. Even so, standing desks can and will increase the power and efficiency of your brain. Sitting in one spot or position for long periods of time (as office workers are wont to do) retards circulation, which in turn hampers oxygen distribution throughout the body. Standing, by contrast, allows one to do his or her work with optimal blood flow to all systems, including the brain. This translates to increased oxygen and nutrient uptake to all areas of the body, including our most vital, most nutrient-hungry system: the brain. In addition to the purely physical benefits, users of standing desks report a sort of contended, almost euphoric feeling; it would seem that a well-fed brain is a happy brain. What more can you ask of a simple desk than a more healthful, more agile, more peaceful mind?
Standing Desks make you skinny!
That’s right, ladies (and gentlemen). Using a standing desk properly and faithfully will help you slim down almost without trying. It might sound like voodoo, but it’s nothing but scientific principles put to the test. Standing, even for relatively brief periods every hour or so, triggers an increase in metabolism, which makes for an increase in fat and calories burned. You won’t look like Schwarzenegger from the use of standing desks alone, but it’s a great start. After all, medical professionals, university studies, and plain old common sense can’t all be wrong when they say that standing while working burns more calories than a purely sedentary lifestyle or work style will. Why not give it a try?
Standing Desks Make You Immortal!
Ok, ok, using a standing desk can’t technically make you live forever, at least not at present. Still, the basket of health benefits attached to the use of a standing desk is a big one, and many of them can leave you looking and feeling years younger.
For starters, there’s the issue of improved posture. There’s no quicker way to end up with a weak set of core muscles, a stoop-shouldered profile, and a general look and feeling of weak, sloppy laxity than to spend weeks, months, or even years sitting slumped at a desk. Not only will you look bad, you’ll feel bad, which is much worse in the long run. By contrast, standing while working forces you to gently, steadily work your core muscles – your back, lateral, and those rockstar abs – which will result in a near effortless toning, sculpting effect of the same. These new muscles aren’t just there to make people look good, though. They’re actually designed to keep us in an upright, properly-postured position, not to mention aiding us in simple, mundane tasks such as the lifting of heavy things and the playing of sports.
If prep school posture isn’t enough to convince you, how about the fact that standing desks promote improved circulation / blood flow, which in turn helps stave off blood clots, hardened arteries, heart disease, and heart attacks? Any frequent flyer will tell you that sitting for long periods of time is a great way to impair circulation to the extremities, particularly the legs. Poor circulation combined with the stereotypical workplace diet of pastries and coffee and fast-food lunches is a first-class invitation to plaque buildup, which can cause all sorts of nasty problems. These issues can range from the harmless and annoying (“pins and needles” sensations in the affected area) to the deadly (heart disease, stroke, heart attack). On the other hand, the simple act of standing to do one’s work can and does allow proper blood flow throughout the body, allowing the heart and the circulatory system to sort of “self-clean”, stymying the otherwise deadly buildup of blood clots, arterial and venous plaque, and so forth.
Beyond all the health benefits, standing desks are as good for shooting you full of energy as any overpriced frothy concoction from Starbucks has ever been. As discussed above, the science behind it is simple: Standing desks promote better blood flow, which provides a fuller, steadier supply of oxygenated blood to the body as a whole, and particularly to hungrier, more demanding systems such as the brain, to say nothing of the human body’s trillions of cells. This all leads to a marked increase in energy levels and feelings of well-being. Alongside the energy boost, proper, routine use of a standing desk has been demonstrated to reduce or even eliminate the back pain so often suffered by those chained to a desk – or rather, to a desk chair – for hours and hours each day.
With all of that in mind, there’s only one thing left to consider: If you could add ten, fifteen, or twenty years to your life just by standing up once in a while, would you do it? It’s not a rhetorical question anymore.
Standing Desks Will Make You Employee Of The Year!
Standing desks make for an office full of healthier, happier employees. Healthier, happier employees whose minds are full of oxygen and nutrients are naturally more alert, quicker on their feet – no pun intended! – and better able to achieve the goals set for them. This all translates into a noticeable bump in productivity and output. If you want to impress the higher-ups with a minimum of actual effort, use a standing desk! People will notice the “new you”, and the praise and promotions will start coming almost like magic.
Standing Desks: The Cons
What, it it so surprising that something should have both positive and negative attributes? Standing desks aren’t a scam or a magic bullet, even if they can sometimes seem like it. The simple fact is that for those accustomed to long periods of sedentary activity (an oxymoron if ever there was one), the prospect or practice of standing for eight-plus hours at a time can be quite daunting. It is also true that at first, new users can expect foot, leg, or knee discomfort. This is normal, especially for the very non-physical or sedentary worker, and should quickly dissipate with routine and proper use of one’s new standing desk workstation.
Better yet, while cons exist for the standing desk, the good news is that nearly all of them can be mitigated or eliminated! Beyond the basic “toughening up” that will come with acclimatization to this new way of working, nearly all standing desks come with peripherals to make the transition easier on a technological basis. Adjustable chairs, generously padded standing mats, and desks which can be raised and/or lowered to suit one’s specific needs and tolerance levels, for instance, are just some of the ways through which ninety-nine percent of the difficulty has been removed from the sitting-to-standing transition. Put bluntly, there are no more excuses. After all, if Mark Zuckerberg, Winston Churchill, Leonardo Da Vinci, and other giants and visionaries of their caliber can employ a standing desk to their everlasting benefit, there’s no reason the average man or woman can’t do the exact same thing.
And there you have it, folks: based on the standing desk benefits, doing one’s job sitting down is just asking for trouble. Increased health, increased productivity, a more powerful brain, and even the fun and novelty of working like some of the coolest, most famous people in all of human history. What’s not to love? The only thing left to do now is to try out a standing desk for yourself. It’s a safe bet that you’ll thank yourself sooner rather than later. Enjoy!