People who sit a lot have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and early death (1, 2).
Additionally, sitting all the time burns very few calories, and many studies have linked it to weight gain and obesity (3, 4).
This is a major problem for office workers, because they sit down for most of the day.
Fortunately, standing desks are becoming increasingly more popular these days.
What is a Standing Desk?
A standing desk, also called a stand-up desk, is basically a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working (5).
Many modern versions are adjustable, so that you can change the height of the desk and alternate between sitting and standing.
These are referred to as height-adjustable desks, or sit-stand desks.
Although research is still in early stages, it does appear that using a standing desk can have impressive benefits for health. It may also increase productivity.
At the very least, using this type of desk can partly negate the harmful effects of sitting too much.
Here are 7 benefits of using a standing desk, that are supported by science.
Standing Lowers Your Risk of Weight Gain and Obesity
Weight gain is ultimately caused by taking in more calories than you burn.
Conversely, burning more calories than you take in results in weight loss.
While exercise is the most effective way to burn calories quickly, simply choosing to stand instead of sitting can also be beneficial.
In fact, when compared to an afternoon of sedentary work, an equal amount of time spent standing has been shown to burn over 170 additional calories (6).
That’s almost 1000 extra calories burned each week from simply standing at your desk each afternoon.
This caloric difference could be one of the reasons why sitting longer is so strongly linked to obesity and metabolic disease (1, 7).
Bottom Line: Standing for an afternoon has been shown to burn 170 more calories than an equal amount of sitting. Over time, this difference can have a major effect on your weight.
Using a Standing Desk May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Generally speaking, the more your blood sugar levels increase after meals, the worse it is for your health.
This is especially true for those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
In a small study of 10 office workers, standing for 180 minutes after lunch reduced the blood sugar spike by 43% compared to sitting for the same amount of time (6).
Both groups took the same amount of steps, indicating that the smaller spike was due to standing rather than additional physical movements around the office.
Another study involving 23 office workers found that alternating between standing and sitting every 30 minutes throughout the workday reduced blood sugar spikes by 11.1% on average (7).
The harmful effects of sitting after meals could help explain why excessive sedentary time is linked to a whopping 112% greater risk of type 2 diabetes (2).
Bottom Line: Studies show that using a standing desk at work can lower blood sugar levels, especially after lunch
Read the rest of this entry »