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Why It’s Smart to Use a Standing Desk (When Working from Home)

  • 5 min read

Modify your sitting habits today. Don’t let the epidemic of stillness kill you tomorrow.

Yesterday, Medium recommended reading Gideon M-K; Health Nerd. Gideon calls himself a Health Nerd.

In his latest story Are Standing Desks a Waste of Time? he comes to the conclusion

“(…) there’s a big question mark over the main reason that we might want standing desks in the first place. Yes, they’ll make you stand more, but it’s not clear whether standing in and of itself improves your health.”

As far as I’m concerned, I always loved walking meetings or walking phone calls. Walking around always helped me to come up with the best ideas.

I started my career in an international agency.

There I had to sit for more than eight hours per day at my (non-height-adjustable) desk.

So those walking meetings and phone calls came in handy for me, however, I soon suffered from back pain although I was just 24 years old.

I wasn’t the only one.

Sitting is the new smoking

One day, I read that “Sitting is the new smoking.

This statement is based on a meta-analysis of studies on the impact of sitting on our health.

It showed that among 1 million people involved, those who sat more than eight hours per day with no physical activity had a higher risk of dying on a par with smoking.

Sitting is an epidemic

When I was a student, I worked for a call center.

Daylong sitting was standard. They didn’t pay me for going to the bathroom or eating a meal, so I often decided to just let the clock tick to earn more money.

In fact, on average, employees spend 77% of their workdays sitting.

They only take breaks for going to the bathroom or eating a meal.

The ideal Sit-Stand-Program

Researchers at the Cornell University found the ideal Sit-Stand-Program.

For every 20 minutes spent sitting you should stand for 8 minutes and move for 2 minutes.

This is where the standing desks, which Gideon was talking about in his article, come into play.

When I became a manager, I was one of the lucky ones who got a height-adjustable desk.

From day one, I loved it. It was a dream come true.

Why?

  • My back pain was gone.
  • I felt much better and more creative.

Soon I realized, similar to prolonged sitting in the first decade of my life, I now stood on my feet the whole day long.

Back then, I didn’t know about the ideal Sit-Stand-Program.

However, intuitively, I felt that it couldn’t be healthier by simply replacing standing with sitting.

Here’s what science says:

  • On the one hand, even light activities such as standing and moving around for a few minutes can counteract the negative consequences of prolonged sitting. So you should stand up and move around.
  • On the other hand, standing too long isn’t good as well. It could double your risk of heart disease. You should not stand for hours.

What You Can Do

What you can take away from the findings shown above is that it’s smart to incorporate standing for instance via a height-adjustable desk into your everyday tasks at work.

At the height of the pandemic, standing desks were in a short supply in many countries.

A lot of my friends and colleagues bought themselves a standing desk for their home office.

Here’s how you can integrate a standing desk at home wisely:

  • Create a system: Every time you take a call, remember to adjust your table and stand up for a few minutes.
  • Take active breaks: Go out and pick up your favorite coffee or go for a walking meeting. Then come back to your desk.
  • Drink lots of water :): Take a bottle of water and place it at the other end of your apartment or house. Leave your standing desk every now and then and drink a glass of water. These little trips keep you healthy. haha
  • Exercise more: Put the time you save for not having to commute to good use. Use the hours you save every day to exercise at home. Leave your standing desk and do some crunches.

The most important thing is to keep the ideal Sit-Stand Program in mind.

Final Takeaways — A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Our whole organism needs movement to stay healthy in the long run.

So, for every 20 minutes spent sitting you should stand for 8 minutes and move for 2 minutes.

You can sit for a while, but every now and then you should move around, for instance, to go get some water, and then use your standing desk for Zoom calls for a short interval.

And so on and so on, always alternating.

As often as possible.

A rolling stone gathers no moss. It’s all about dynamic sitting and standing.

Man is designed for movement, to switch between sitting, standing, walking and all the postures in between.

A standing desk can help you with it.

So, don’t sit this pandemic out. It’s time to stand up. Not just for the sake of standing, but in order to sit down again.

© Kristina God


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