For decades, office desks were all the same – low to the ground and stationary. But over the past few years, things have changed. The desk has evolved and a new option – the standing desk – has emerged as the perfect alternative for those who are tired of sitting still.
What is a Standing Desk?
A standing desk is any type of office desk that allows the user to go between sitting and standing, while still continuing to perform work-related tasks without interruption. There are a variety of different styles of standing desks, including:
- Fixed standing desks. These are simply elevated desks that are fixed at standing height. They can’t be lowered. In order to sit at one of these desks, you’ll need an elevated chair, such as a barstool.
- Desktop adapters. These adapters are placed on a standard desk and allow you to raise up a portion of your workspace (typically consisting of your monitor, keyboard, and mouse). This is a good option if you like your current desk and don’t want to replace it.
- Hand-crank standing desks. These hand-powered standing desks can be raised or lowered with a simple crank mechanism. They’re usually cost-effective, but do require some extra time and elbow grease.
- Electric standing desks. These standing desks can be raised or lowered to any height with a simple push of the button. They typically have a touchscreen pad that allows for programmed settings for optimal convenience.
Commercial standing desks have been around in some form or fashion for the better part of two decades, but they’ve become increasingly popular over the past five years as the work-from-home movement has grown and people now have more control over their office environments.
If you’re going to go the standing desk route, the key is to find the right option. In addition to considering the styles, think about the brand. Companies like BTOD.com are known for offering both quality products and excellent ongoing support.
5 Benefits of Switching to a Standing Desk
Making the switch to a standing desk can have a massive impact on your physical and mental health. Here are a few of the perks:
1. Improves Circulation
Sitting is terrible for blood flow and heart health. It constricts blood flow, requires your heart to work harder, and has a negative impact on your overall cardiovascular health. Sitting is so harmful to your health that research suggests even 60 minutes of intense exercise isn’t enough to offset an entire day spent sitting. On the contrary, a standing desk improves circulation and could lower your risk of heart disease.
2. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
The more your blood sugar level rises after eating, the worse it is for your health. And in people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, spikes in blood sugar levels can be especially dangerous. Keeping these levels properly modulated has a number of health benefits.
In a study of office workers, standing for three hours after lunch is shown to reduce the blood sugar spike that occurs by as much as 43 percent (when compared to sitting for the entire 180-minute period). A separate study shows that alternating between sitting and standing every 30 minutes throughout the day reduces blood sugar levels by roughly 11 percent.
Either way, standing immediately after eating is beneficial. The more you can do it on a daily basis, the better your long-term health will be.
3. Lowers Risk of Weight Gain
You might think standing is still a pretty sedentary action, but it does a lot more for your body than you realize. For example, standing for an entire afternoon is shown to burn an extra 170 calories (when compared to sitting for that same period of time). This results in nearly 1,000 extra calories burned over the course of a workweek. When combined with daily exercise and smart nutrition, a standing desk could put you on the fast track to losing weight.
4. Reduces Back Pain
Sitting for extended periods of time puts a lot of pressure on your back. By standing with proper posture, you take much of this pressure off sensitive areas of the spine and provide relief.
In one study, individuals who switch to a standing desk report up to 32 percent improvement in lower back pain within just weeks of regular use. Likewise, another finds the use of a sit-stand desk reduces neck and upper back pain by 54 percent after just one month.
5. Improves Productivity
When you’re more comfortable, you’re able to spend more time focusing on the task at hand. This leads to increased focus and productivity. And because standing desks are known to improve energy, many people report being able to work for longer periods of time.
6. Elevates Mood
When it’s all said and done, a standing desk makes you feel better and perform better. Thus it should come as no surprise that people who make the switch from a standard desk to a standing desk usually report feeling happier and more motivated to work. This makes it the perfect addition to any office.
Buying a Standing Desk
When it comes to buying a standing desk, you have a few different options. In addition to the styles mentioned above, there are a couple of different “assembly” methods to consider.
The first option is to buy a complete desk. This comes with both a desk surface and the base. (Though you’ll almost certainly have to assemble and connect the two before it can be used).
The second option is to buy just the base and to then purchase a separate desk surface. If you’re handy, you can purchase your own wood from a local lumber yard or hardware store and finish it how you please. If you’d prefer an alternative surface, like metal, plastic, or even some sort of stone surface, you can do that as well.
Join the Standing Desk Movement
The great thing about switching to a standing desk is that you get the best of both worlds. It’s a versatile choice that allows you effortlessly transition from sitting to standing. For best results, try alternating in 45- to 60-minute blocks. This will keep your energy and focus up.