After a day working in the office, do you sometimes feel like a half open rusted penknife? Worrying that spending those long hours sitting in the same fixed posture is doing your body no good and may even be damaging in the long term?
If you do it’s perfectly understandable, we weren’t designed to do this. And this is where a sit stand desk can make a big difference helping you to work more healthily and productively as well as relieving discomfort.
Why is movement and variation so important?
While it’s fair to say that a good quality office chair offers great comfort and support, it can only go so far. As a result it’s always a good idea to get up out of your chair regularly through the day.
In reality what often happens is we get involved with our work and end up sitting far too long until the aches and pains set in and force us to move.
The beauty of sit and stand working is it allows you to work in a wide variety of postures that can’t be achieved while sitting. It helps to make for a far more natural way of working. And by taking note of our body’s signals of fatigue and stress all that’s needed is a change of work position. This wide variation of movement keeps the body more active and healthy.
What benefits do office workers typically find working this way?
Variable height desk workers often report significant benefits when changing from straight sitting all day to this more flexible working method. Usually they find:
- It keeps them in better shape physically
- It helps to control weight as additional activity burns off excess calories
- An ability to focus and concentrate more effectively
- A greater level of energy
- Feeling more actively engaged in their work
- A much wider variety of positions, many of which can’t be achieved with a chair
- Less aches and pains through being more active
There are also other less obvious benefits like improved blood circulation which in turn leads to the nourishment of muscles ultimately making them stronger and healthier.
A recent study shows the long-term harm of prolonged sitting
The American Cancer Society undertook a study of 120,000 people with no prior history of serious illness and the results were pretty worrying.
It discovered mortality rates rose by 37% for women and 18% for men who worked more than 6 hours a day sitting, when compared to those sitting for less than 3 hours a day. With a large sample like this these results are disturbing to say the least.
And yet when you look at the history of man’s evolution it has all been based around moving and walking. The past 80 years or so has seen a huge change in all this as we have suddenly become largely sedentary. For many the greater part of their waking hours is spent sitting and that’s not good.
Is all this sitting in an office chair killing you?
A sobering Businessweek article recently made this bold statement – “Your Office Chair Is Killing You”. The article looked at the problems of sitting showing that prolonged sitting inflicted undue pressure on the back’s discs.
It went on to point out this doesn't happen when standing because your body’s weight is spread through the hips, knees and ankles. It concluded it’s best to sit in a semi standing position as this reduces pressure on your back and allows weight to be carried via the legs.
And this is definitely a popular way of working with height adjustable desk users.
Study shows office workers prefer sit stand working reporting a decrease in pain
A study carried out by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Laboratory at Cornell University found computer users noticed a marked decrease in musculoskeletal pain after only 4 to 6 weeks of working at a height adjustable desk.
And it looks like they enjoyed the experience as 4 out of 5 of the participants said they preferred this way of working rather than their usual fixed height desk.
Although this way of working is radically different to a conventional office desk, it’s clear there is little problem to adapting to it for new users. In fact as the work position is so easy to alter it makes it very simple to pace yourself and adapt to the new way of working at a rate that suits you.
Find out more about sit stand working
So, if you're fed up with sitting in discomfort for prolonged hours, take a look at this article. It explains the different types of height adjustable desks to help to see which might be best for you.