Want to shed a few pounds in the New Year? Part of the answer may be as simple as standing up. A sedentary lifestyle can quickly lead to all sorts of maladies, from obesity to lethargy to difficulty concentrating. Our bodies want to be active, and increased mobility brings with it a host of benefits. Standing up to work can be the first step toward improving your work habits, your health, and your quality of life.
The effects of sitting for long periods each day are even more poignant for women than for men. In a study reported by the New York Times Magazine, women who sat for six or more hours a day were found to have a 40 percent higher death rate than those who sat for just three hours or less. The study examined 123,000 Americans, and found the same statistic for men to be just 20 percent.
That’s just one of many reasons to make the change to standing!
- Standing improves circulation and heart health, as opposed to sitting, and can literally add years to your lifespan.
Shed Pounds and Keep Them Off
- During the course of a normal workday, standing can result in hundreds of extra calories burned than you’d use sitting. That doesn’t even take into the account the increased likelihood of additional movement throughout the day for those who stand to work. When you’re on your feet, you’ll likely shift your weight from foot to foot, lift your legs in place, and even dance to music that inspires you.
Reduce Back and Wrist Pain
- For office workers who suffer from lower back pain, standing up can literally provide a solution. With a stand-up desk positioned properly, it’s possible to improve posture and reduce many of the problems normally associated with desk work.
- By raising your desk, you also create new storage space underneath for additional shelves and file cabinets. This provides an easy-to-reach space for any clutter that’s normally on your desktop and causing a distraction. Most people work more efficiently with a clean workspace, and a raised desk can help provide a solution.
- When we’re standing, and thus less relaxed than when slouching in a chair, we’re more likely to stay focused on the task at hand and complete our work quickly. Many people that switch to a stand-up desk find that their productivity levels increase as well.
If you’re interested or convinced enough to give standing to work a try, you don’t have to rush out and invest in an expensive new desk. Many models do exist that allow for adjustable height, even switching between sitting and standing levels throughout the day, but plenty of budget options exist as well.
One solution is to raise your existing desk (or if it’s a heavy, wooden model, consider using a simple table). Raise up each leg atop cinder blocks, wooden supports, or even your unused encyclopedia connection.
For a more attractive, long-term option, a few heavy-duty wall brackets can support a plank of wood mounted onto the wall. Even a repurposed door can do the trick and make for an attractive, quirky desk option.
Finally, if you’re just looking to try it out for a day, simply place a wooden chair with a flat, solid seat atop your existing desk. If you utilize a laptop, use a plug-in keyboard — otherwise you’ll be reaching up higher than is comfortable to type.
Your ideal layout places your monitor at eye level, and your keyboard and mouse 90 degrees in front of your elbows when your arms are laid at your side.
It’s possible to fluctuate between sitting and standing, even when your homemade stand-up desk remains at a static level. A barstool with a high back can serve as a great chair or support to lean on whenever your feet tire of standing or you just need a change.
Have you tried standing to work? Did you stick with it, and would you recommend it to friends and peers?
Kenneth McCall builds creative and innovative tools for customers seeking self storage units. Kenneth is a managing partner at storage.com which provides Marietta storage units and units in other Georgian cities. In his spare time he likes to get outside, ideally with a boat and water-skis.