Like Hansel in Zoolander, standing desks are so hot right now. You might think that co-workers standing (or, like Dwight Schrute, sitting on unusual desk chair alternatives) is just a fad, but in reality there’s some serious scientific evidence that suggests you should join them in ditching your office chair. Here are five reasons to consider getting a standing desk, and installing an app that reminds you to move more throughout the day:
Sitting is destroying your health
Sounds a bit alarmist, doesn’t it? But according to recent research studies, this isn’t an exaggeration. A study by the New Zealand Journal of Medicine discovered that sitting more than four hours a day increases the risk of death from any cause by 50 percent. A 13-year study by the American Cancer Society found that women who sat more than six hours a day were 94 percent more likely to die during the study period than those who sat less than 3 hours. And a report by the Surgeon General’s office found that sitting a day ups your risk of a heart attack by 125 percent
You might be an “active couch potato”
The alarming results from above were independent of workout frequency – so don’t think that a quick run or WOD can undo the damage of sitting all day. If you work out for sixty minutes and then sit, each hour of butt-on-chair time erases 8 percent of the exercise’s benefits, according to a Mayo Clinic study. Standing and frequently moving acts like a pump to flush out lactic acid and other waste products that build up during exercise and to distribute nutrients and oxygenated blood that speed recovery. But sitting turns the pump off, effectively putting the lymphatic system and other bodily processes into sleep mode. If you exercise a bit and sit most of the day, you’re effectively an active couch potato. Alternating sitting and standing and moving more throughout the day will improve your exercise gains and your overall health.
Guess what’s causing your back pain, tight hamstrings, etc…
The stats tell us that 90 percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. And sitting is one of the chief culprits. Your body conforms to the position you’re in most. When you sit for long periods of time, your muscles and fascia tighten up in some areas while loosening in others – making you both tight and weak at the same time. So you bunch everything up all day and then wonder why you tweak your lower back starting the lawnmower or pull a hammy in rec league softball in the evening, or mess up your shoulder in the gym. And that hunched, shoulders-forward figure you see in the mirror? Sitting in a disorganized, collapsed position is to blame for that, too.
You’re leaving 33 marathons on the table (well, the chair)
If you’re struggling to lose weight, sitting is getting in the way, as it reduces metabolism. Juliet Starrett, co-founder of non-profit Standup Kids, discovered that if she stood and moved around most of the day instead of sitting, she’d burn the calorie equivalent of running 33 marathons in a year. Combining regular exercise and standing/moving the rest of the day can help you bust through plateaus and reach your weight loss goals.
Your productivity is taking a back seat
Ok, it’s a bad pun. But you’d like to get more work done in less time, right? Well good luck with that if you sit at a desk all day. Sitting not only puts most of your body systems into slow motion, but also sends drowsiness signals to your brain. When you’re cranking on a project or trying to hit a deadline, you don’t really want to be sending a mixed message to the ol’ gray matter: “speed up…but slow down”
Researchers at Texas A&M found that students who stand are 12 percent more engaged than their seated counterparts – the same applies to the workplace. One startup company conducted a before/after study on sitting/standing and found that getting out of the office chair boosted productivity by 10 percent. So it’s clear that if you want to elevate your productivity, you’ve got to first stand up tall.