Monday, June 5, 2017

Should I Be Using A Standing Desk?

Now, that's a different standing desk. By Liz Henry from Flickr
Sitting kills. That's the headline many of you would have seem or read in the last few years. You've also read or heard that sitting is the new smoking. And if you've been following our blog, I've written before that despite exercising a lot, if you sit too much at work, you can be what is known as an active couch potato. Worse still, all that sitting can negate the benefits of your exercise.

Well fortunately for me, I hardly get to sit much when I'm working in the clinic.

Many of my patients have asked about the benefits of a standing desk. I even found a picture (below) of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill working on his slanted standing desk.
Kurt Hutton/picture post via Getty
Standing desks have been suggested as an alternative to the ills of sitting. And there's studies to show that working upright (at a standing desk) can help correct your posture and tone your stomach and legs without compromising your focus.

And in kids, standing desks seems to increase their energy levels and reduce hunger.

My take on standing desks? I've seen many of my patients go straight from sitting to a standing desk get different problems. Being unaccustomed on their feet all day long poses new risks. It can inhibit proper circulation and add additional pressure to your hips, legs and lower back. Sort of like jumping from the frying pan into the fire if you ask me.

And unfortunately, research shows that sitting once or twice throughout your work day will not offer you enough relief. So don't switch to a standing desk if you've been sitting all day straight away, make sure you gradually phase it in.

What are the alternatives? I prefer the stability ball or better still the saddle stool with adjustable height so that you can perch on it if you're not quite used to standing yet.
Our clinic's saddle stool
There's also the desk cycle, though I definitely haven't tried it yet.
Desk cycle
References

Commiassaris DA, Konemann R et al (2014). Effects Of A Standing And Three Dynamic Workstations On Computer Task Performance And Cognitive Function Tests. Appl Ergon. 45(6): 1570-1578. DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2014.05.003.

Garcia MG, Laubil T and Martin BJ (2015). Long-term Muscle Fatigue After Standing Work. Human Ftr and Ergo Society. 57(7): 1162-1173. DOI: 10.1177/0018720815590293.

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