Leading a sedentary lifestyle and sitting down excessively is said to be as bad for your health as smoking. Try to incorporate more standing in your life. If you want to try this yourself, you might want to gradually ease into it as it takes a little getting used to.

5 Benefits of Using a Stand-Up Desk

(1) You live longer. A piece in the NY Times mentioned that sitting for extended periods of time is strongly linked with increased mortality and metabolic syndrome, regardless of how much exercise a sitter gets. It is estimated that people sit up to 12 hours a day during working hours, commuting, eating and watching tv. You cannot simply exercise away your sedentary work habit of sitting all day as your exercise will not undo the damage done by excessive sitting.

(2) You become fitter and stronger. You actually burn more calories by standing as shown in this article where Dr Buckley says: “then that would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year. Just by standing up three or four hours in your day at work.” The key to reducing the risk of obesity is consistent, moderate levels of movement throughout the day.

You also strengthen your muscles. Sitting weakens your muscles, especially in the legs and the hips. When you are standing you are engaging, and therefore using, more muscles.

(3) Productivity and creativity levels are increased. When you are healthier you have increased energy and are more alert. This translates to achieving more in your work day and having fewer sick leaves. Facebook offices are equipped with a high proportion of standing desks with the trend of more of their employees converting to one. Even Chef Cyrille writes his new Primed recipes from his stand up desk at Brasserie CiÇou.

Cyrille's Stand-up Desk

(4) Improved posture and breathing. When you stand properly and have your laptop, screen and mouse placed comfortably your shoulders and back will not be slouched. This aids deep breathing and is something you can also do more consciously throughout your work day. Try doing some deep breathing exercises for even greater benefits.

(5) Less illness. You are less likely to get diabetes, heart disease and even deep vein thrombosis if you stand more. When you sit most of the day at work you are also more likely to sit more at home. You can chose to use a stand up desk by simply putting a box under your computer like I have done in the picture below.

Stand up desk 7

Whilst standing at your desk you’ll probably find that you want to incorporate squats, stretches (such as the shoulder roll and heel rise) and other activities whilst your web pages are loading. Quite a few people have also installed treadmills and walk whilst at their desk. Once standing you are more likely to walk to top up your water, make another cup of green tea, visit a colleague instead of emailing them and generally be more active. It is easier to move about once you are standing compared with already being sedentary whilst sitting.

Finally, if you still think standing while you are working is unusual, by also doing so you will join famous people like Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo Da Vinci. The Mona Lisa was painted standing and not whilst Da Vinci was sitting peacefully in a chair.

Da Vinci
Taken at the Louvre in June 2014.

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