There’s been a huge buzz over standing desks (sit-stand desks, height-adjustable tables, etc) and standing up for work. But is it the ultimate game-changer for your health? Are there concrete reasons why you should stand more?
Try this: Are you seated? Start being aware of your posture – don’t change anything, just pay attention to how your body feels. Let your attention wander to different areas – your feet, your hips, lower back, all the way up to your shoulders and neck. How do you feel?
Now, let’s change it up. Stand up and look straight for a moment. Imagine a straight line from your feet, to your hips, through your torso, to your neck. How does this posture feel compared to your seated posture? Try repeating this exercise.
Chances are, standing feels better than sitting for you. You might feel more at ease, and also more alert. You’ve now felt it, better than what any studies can tell you. But what does the science actually say about standing up?
Well, it turns out standing up is the most natural posture for your body. Your spine, internal organs are in their most natural position, aligned and relaxed. Blood also flows better, which gives you that subtle boost in alertness.
Standing feels a lot more natural than sitting down, precisely because we didn’t evolve with desks and chairs. Our ancestors spent more time on 2 legs because they had to hunt, they had to forage for resources. Constantly.
Simply put, our bodies are designed to be upright, and thus, our bodies work better when we’re upright.
But no one’s saying that sitting is evil and we should stand all day. Your feet will hurt. What’s the real problem when it comes to our workspaces and lifestyles?
Note: If standing feels more uncomfortable than being seated, get in touch with a physio, chiropractor, or an orthopedic specialist.
The real problem with the way we work is that we’re sitting for extended periods of time. Some even go as far to say sitting is the new smoking. Well, that’s because of all the health risks awaiting us all as we sit all day.
The real health risk is our sedentary lifestyles, and the only cure is more movement.
So how can we improve the way we work, and our workspaces?
The standing up for work hype-train is really more about designing a workspace environment that’s conducive for your body and mind.
Are you able to switch from sitting, standing, leaning seamlessly? That’s where standing desks fit into the equation. Can you switch your positions, and therefore, move more, without having to break concentration? If you needed a minute to crank a lever to switch your position, that might be a distraction. If you’re just standing up and not moving a whole lot, that’s still sedentary.
Are you practicing healthy work habits like taking a short break to go on a walk? How about switching to standing meetings at the office once in a while?
The alternative is, well, chronic health and postural issues, very possibly productivity deficits too. All of these are completely avoidable with some smart(er) work choices.
It’s about working healthier. Breathing new life into your workspace habits. Standing up isn’t the only solution for healthier work. But based on our current lifestyles, it’s certainly an important cue, a simple but powerful tool that puts our body and mind into the right position for healthier work.
Considering how easy it is to incorporate into your daily work routine, why give pain a chance?