It is increasingly common to hear that standing is the new sitting. But what is actually behind this trend? Can furnishing the office with standing desks actually provide health benefits? The following article gets to the bottom of this question.
The trend of standing work
Sitting is considered just as harmful as smoking tobacco cigarettes. As a result, standing workstations can be found in more and more offices. But is a standing desk really able to prevent numerous typical work-related illnesses?
It is definitely undisputed that an ergonomically designed workstation is of great importance for general well-being and health. Employees who spend an average of eight hours of their working day sitting down without changing their posture are demonstrably damaging not only their health, but also their mental health and productivity.
Most people have at least experienced the short-term effects of poor posture and sitting for too long, such as muscle tension, joint pain, fatigue and headaches. However, the long-term effects make the risks of sitting even clearer.
Among other things, sitting for long periods significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. The same applies to the development of lung and bowel cancer. In addition, the immune system is weakened. Other harmful consequences of sitting include a shorter life expectancy, a higher risk of thrombosis, a higher probability of carpal tunnel syndrome and increased blood lipid levels.
Just reducing the time spent sitting by three hours a day can increase life expectancy by two years.
Standing work – these are the benefits of standing desks in the office
Standing workstations offer decisive advantages. The trend towards standing work is certainly justified.
Not only the shoulders and neck, but also the back is subjected to much less strain when standing. However, it is important that you stand upright and that there is a right angle between the desk surface and your back.
Higher energy consumption
The body uses more muscles when standing than when sitting. This also activates the auxiliary muscles. In just one week, an additional 630 calories can be burned by spending three more hours a day standing up.
Breathe more deeply
The body is in a bent position when sitting. When standing, however, it is stretched, which allows the air we breathe to circulate better. Deeper breaths are possible, which optimizes the oxygen supply. This not only increases productivity at work, but also improves your mood.
Optimum blood circulation
Blood can also circulate much better in the body while standing. There is no blood congestion in the lower half of the body. This can prevent many illnesses. It also improves cognitive and physical performance.
In a study, American researchers came to the conclusion that concentration is better when standing than when sitting. Students who studied for their exams at standing tables achieved better grades than the control group. They were also able to improve their general cognitive performance.
More professional communication
When standing, the voice is generally more definite and louder. This creates a self-confident impression on the other person. Both the acoustics and your own posture improve, making your appearance more competent, professional and dynamic.
What is important for a height-adjustable desk?
There is now an almost unmanageable selection of height-adjustable desks on the market. Particularly if you are buying a desk for your home office, you should therefore pay attention to a few criteria to avoid making a bad purchase.
For example, the height adjustment should function smoothly. Models that are infinitely adjustable are particularly practical in everyday use. These make it possible to adjust their height perfectly to your own height.
It is also important that the frame of the desk does not wobble when typing on the keyboard. Before making the final purchase decision, it is therefore important to check whether the desk is still stable at the highest setting.
However, the work surface offered by the standing desk should also be taken into account. This must be large enough to accommodate a screen and the usual work utensils. The tabletop should therefore measure at least 160 x 80 centimetres.
Particularly high-quality models of height-adjustable desks are equipped with a practical memory function. With these, the perfect standing height only needs to be set once. This is then saved and can be called up again and again. This type of standing desk is particularly recommended if the same workstation is used by different employees.
As the standing desks are higher, longer cables are of course also required. This often results in cable chaos, which quickly becomes disruptive and unprofessional. For this reason, the desk should be equipped with a cable tray or a cable siphon. This allows the cables to be concealed within the desk.
The right posture at a standing desk
People who have spent eight hours a day sitting down in the past should not spend their entire working time standing up from one day to the next. It is better to gradually increase the amount of time spent standing. However, it would generally be a mistake to spend the entire working day standing. The key is to achieve a good balance between standing and sitting. As a guide, 60 percent of the time should be spent sitting, 30 percent standing and ten percent moving freely.
However, in order to really benefit from the health advantages of working while standing, the correct posture is also crucial. Failure to adopt an upright posture often leads to long-term problems in the back, hips and knees.
The desk is at the ideal height when the forearm on the desk top is at a right angle to the body. A forward-bent posture, on the other hand, quickly causes tension in the neck or shoulders. People who are very overweight should also ask their doctor about the recommended daily standing time.
The stance should also not be too stiff. The body should therefore be moved from time to time and the weight shifted. Use a soft base, such as a carpet, to take the strain off your feet. Regular breaks should also be taken if standing for long periods causes pain or strain.
The right height-adjustable workstation makes it possible to find the perfect rhythm between sitting, moving and standing. This benefits health far more than a working day spent exclusively sitting or standing. The secret therefore lies in the greatest possible flexibility in working posture.