Get Out of That Chair: Benefits of Standing Desks

standing desk

Standing desks may seem like just another office trend, but they are gaining more traction nationwide. In 2011, the CDC conducted a study on the effects of this new trend and found many benefits for getting up out of your chair and onto your feet. From eased neck pain to reducing risk of diseases, advocates swear by these tall desks.

Ease Muscle Tension

Many office workers who spend most of their day at a desk complain of neck, shoulder or back pain. This pain is often caused by improper posture. Slouching over a keyboard can lead to hunched shoulders. This constant tension can cause tight back and shoulder muscles that ache even after the workday ends.
Improper desk setup can also lead to muscle aches and pain. Straining to see a monitor that is too far away or tilted at an incorrect angle can lead to neck strain and improper spine alignment. Improper keyboard height can also cause tension in the shoulders from having to put the arms in an awkward angle in order to type effectively.
A proper standing desk can relieve most of these issues. If properly measured, a standing desk should allow for a 90-degree bend in the arms to the keyboard. The monitor should be tilted upwards at roughly 20 degrees and located about two feet from your eyes. It is also best to stand on a flat yet supportive surface, like a gel mat. Sensible footwear, not high heels, also promotes natural posture. These things combined realign your body to its natural center and ease tension in the muscles.

Fight Fatigue and Promote Focus

While it may seem like a contradiction that standing opposed to sitting will energize you, it’s true. Standing while working increases focus, alertness and activity level. These things all support each other. Because your circulation is improved, your blood sugar is stable and your metabolism is active, it’s easier to burn off restless energy, which in turn makes it easier to remain focused.
Midmorning and early afternoon fatigue usually plagues many office workers. You start to feel sluggish and unfocused. These dips in productivity are associated with metabolic drops after the body has processed a meal. Standing keeps your blood sugar level constant and helps to avoid these slumps. Because your body is active throughout the day, at night tiredness will come over you when it is time to finally sleep and your body will naturally wind down. You may notice your nighttime racing mind will start to vanish.

Reduce Risk of Disease

It’s been said for decades now that long periods of sitting is bad for your cardiovascular system. Back in the 1950s British researchers studied the rates of heart disease in bus drivers, who sit, and bus conductors, who stand, and found that the bus drivers had far more heart attacks and other health problems than the conductors.
Working at a standing desk promotes blood circulation since your muscles are adjusting and flexing. This also keeps your blood sugar level regulated and keeps your blood pressure lower. All of these things combined lead to better cardiovascular health and help ward off heart health related problems.

Listen to Your Body

Just like sitting all day is bad for your body, standing all day can also bring it’s own set of pains. Your feet may ache or your legs may stiffen. Pay attention to these signs, your body is telling you it needs a rest. There are some companies, like UpDesk, that make motorized desks that allow you to raise and lower it so that you can alternate between sitting and standing.
If neck, back or shoulder pains still persist, the Certified Providers at Airrosti can evaluate your symptoms to pinpoint the cause of the pain. They then use specialized manual therapy to correct the body and ease your pain. At home stretches and active rehab exercises may also be prescribed to speed recovery and prevent further pain or injury. On average, patients’ pain is gone in three visits.
Photo Courtesy: “standing desk” by ramsey beyer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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