Have you ever heard the saying, “sitting is the new smoking”? It might seem a bit exaggerated, but indeed, prolonged sitting significantly increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and several other unpleasant conditions.
As physiotherapists, we frequently encounter the adverse effects of sitting for too long, such as lower back pain, neck and shoulder discomfort, wrist pain, headaches, hip and knee pain – the list is extensive. With growing awareness about the detrimental impacts of sitting, it was inevitable that a solution would emerge, one that’s been thoughtfully provided by the likes of SBA Office National with their range of sit stand desks.
The Standing Desk
Standing desks are a clever innovation that enables you to stand while engaging in activities like working on your computer or reading and writing. They offer numerous benefits:
- Reduced risk of weight gain
- Potential decrease in blood sugar levels
- Possible reduction in heart disease risk
- Alleviation of back pain
- Enhanced mood and energy levels
- Boost in productivity
However, they’re not without drawbacks. Unfortunately, standing for extended periods, particularly in unsupportive footwear, can lead to discomfort in the feet, knees, ankles, hips, and lower back. This leads us to another invention, which we personally favour.
The Sit-to-Stand Desk
Sit-to-stand desks are height-adjustable workstations that allow you to effortlessly switch between sitting and standing throughout your workday. They’re fantastic because they offer all the benefits of standing desks (i.e., reduced sitting time) while also providing the body with the variety it craves.
As more research emerges on the ideal balance of sitting versus standing during the day, recommendations are frequently updated. Current studies suggest aiming for 2 hours of standing or walking during a typical 8-hour workday. As you get accustomed, you can gradually increase this to about 4 hours daily. A practical approach is to start by standing for 15-20 minutes every hour, then sitting for the remaining time.
How you sit and stand is just as crucial as the amount of time you spend doing each. And if you’re reading this while seated at your desk, now’s a good time to stand up and take a stroll!