Five key benefits of standing at work

5 Key Benefits of Standing at Work

For the average office worker, 8 or more hours a day are spent at the desk, which means on the chair. Yet, research upon research has shown that incorporating activity to our workday can substantially change our lives for the better:

1. Reduce risk of major diseases

Prolonged sitting is harmful , whether or not a person exercises. A sedentary life increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and premature mortality.

The simple act of standing and moving, is considered a light intensity activity, which can help us burn up to 60 calories more per hour. Coupled with regular exercise, being active can help us reduce the risk of major diseases significantly:

  • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) by 33%
  • Type 2 diabetes by 27%
  • Colon and breast cancer by 20-30%, and 20-40%, respectively

2. Reduce back and neck pain

Eight out of 10 people will have back pain at some point in their lives. This is often due to cumulative stresses such as sitting with bad posture all day. When we slouch in a chair it forces the spine’s natural “S” into a hunched “C” shape. It is the stress on the back end of the “C” that leads to back and neck pain.

Standing places less stress on the spine and encourages us to maintain the optimal “S” curve. Interspersing long periods of sitting coupled with frequent movement have been shown to reduce upper back discomfort and neck pain in office workers.

3. Burn Calories

Changing your posture, standing and moving within your office space can increase calories burn compared with sitting still.

Scientists at the University of Queensland found that independent of regular exercise, alternating between sitting and standing at work resulted in slimmer waists, lower BMIs and healthier fat and blood sugar levels than those who sat more. In fact, those with the most breaks in sedentary time, had waistlines up to 5.95cm slimmer than those with the least breaks.

4. Increase energy and productivity

Alternating between sitting and standing improves blood circulation and increases the production of endorphins, leading to increased energy levels and improved mood.

In a US study, users of adjustable height standing desks reported feeling more energised (87%), more focused (71%) and more productive (66%). Studies on US call centres have found that those using a standing workstation were up to 46% more productive than those without.

5. Improve your mood

Physical activity increases the production of our brain’s feel good neurotransmitters (endorphins) and improves blood circulation. This quickly leads to an improved mood and increased energy levels. In a study where standing desk were installed at workstations, 62% of participants felt happier and 33% felt less stressed as a result.