As the pandemic continues, most of us are getting used to working from home. If you’re a freelancer, it’s second nature. And sure – it’s kind of great being able to sit cozily in your spot for hours and get into the flow.
But did you know that it might be harmful to you?
Not the part about getting comfy, the part about sitting too long!
It’s scientifically proven that sitting for extended periods of time increases risks for heart disease, obesity, and of course back and neck pain. Even people who exercise most days will have higher health risks if they sit too much.
That’s not all. Studies have also found a higher risk of dying from sitting more than eight hours a day with no physical activity.
Sitting for too long can be as bad for your health as morbid obesity or smoking.
It’s a far too common problem with a very easy solution; A standing desk!
(And a few other things.)
Exactly what the name implies – a desk that lets you work whilst standing up.
They tend to come in 2 variations, a fixed-height standing desk and a sit-stand desk.
Most standing desks are created with comfort in mind. They can factor in things like monitor size and height, whatever tasks you’re using it for and the need for video calls.
If you’re feeling REALLY fancy, you could look at treadmill desks which are worth at least over $1,000. These things are basically standing desks with treadmills attached.
Standing desks have been known to be great tools for productivity and health.
Studies have shown that standing desks actually make you more proactive and energetic by regulating your blood glucose levels.
The reports also show that people who alternated between standing up and sitting down while working had higher levels of energy. Even people who experienced discomfort due to their weight felt better when they did that.
It’s so effective in fact, that another study revealed that people who used adjustable standing desks are 46% more productive than those who did not!
And guess what?
Big businesses around the world are catching on to the trend and moving in that direction too!
In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook swears by it, believing that it’s much better for the employee’s lifestyle.
An employee benefit survey done in 2018 shows that businesses that offered standing desks in the workspace grew by an average of 9% in 12 months! That was 4 years ago, there’s even more now!
You might think they’re too good to be true, there must be a catch… well… there is.
Standing desks aren’t miracle cure-alls. Their main purpose is to keep you from sitting for too long. Using one once in a while is beneficial but overusing a standing desk also brings health concerns.
Standing too much can be as bad as sitting too much.
It goes without saying that standing for too long will hurt your feet. When that happens, people also tend to shift their weights around which is not good for the hips and back.
According to experts, standing all day puts a lot of pressure on your legs which can cause vascular problems such as swelling, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Standing desks being beneficial to weight loss is also a common misconception. Standing for too long barely burns any calories.
An average person would burn roughly 54 calories more per day if they replaced sitting down with standing up for 6 hours a day. That’s not a lot if you consider the fact a boiled egg is about 150 calories.
Standing desks are also kind of niche. They’re not ideal for every task you have. Things like typing and video calling might be better standing up, but drawing, writing and brainstorming are easier when you sit.
The standing desks are ultimately great tools to help your health and productivity.
However tools won’t do much if they’re in the wrong hands. You’ll need to know how to properly use a standing table to bring out it’s full efficiency.
The best way to use a standing desk?
Periodically. Stand for a while, sit, then stand again. It’s supposed to be done several times a day.
When you’re first starting out it might feel a bit uncomfortable to work standing up, but it will gradually feel more natural. Try doing 15-30 minute sessions a few times a day first.
You can start adding more hours into it until you get used to the standing desk. The most important thing is to make sure you’re comfortable with it.
Remember to keep your posture in check!
Try not to slump and keep your head, neck and spine in a straight line. Ideally, you want your elbows to be at a 90-degree angle when your wrists are flat on the desk.
Make sure the table’s height is properly adjusted so your computer is at eye level. This helps you maintain your posture. Looking downwards for long periods of time is especially bad for your neck as well.
For the cherry on top, toss in some light movements into the mix. Every once in a while, do some stretches or walk around for a minute. Moving around provides more health and productivity benefits on top of everything.
On a budget? Great! It’s fine if you don’t have access to an ‘official’ standing desk.
Any high platform will do the trick. A divider, an elevated chair, anything that can give you a standing work space will do fine.
You just want to build your platform high enough so that you’re giving your elbows that 90-degree angle.
The most important thing about standing desks anyway is the “standing” part. As long as you’re able to alternate sitting and standing while working, you’ll get to enjoy all the benefits.
Even more so when you incorporate light movements and exercises in the mix!