Canadian Health

Get Your Sit/Stand Desk Now – Before It’s Too Late

It has been well-established (see the accompanying articles on this website and take another look at some of the additional research references) that:

• Too much sitting is hazardous to your health. Sitting all day in an office is a death sentence.

• Exercise, even an hour or more of vigorous exercise every day, does not offset the effects of excessive prolonged sitting. In fact, prolonged sitting is too much sitting and, I repeat, is dangerous to your health.

• Too much standing can also be risky in a lot of ways. It may be just as bad as sitting for too long.

• There is a need to balance sitting time and standing time at work. The balance between the two is not the same for everyone, depending on age, health and physical condition.

There are a number of possible solutions to this dilemma:
• You may have a large enough office space that you can have both a stand-up and a sit-down desk and you may be able to vary your tasks such that you don’t need to move a lot of material from one location to the other every time you need to move from one station to the other.

• Some people may find it acceptable to just use a standing desk and sit on a stool or high chair for a break from time-to-time. This is probably more workable in some professions than in others; for most office workers, I do not believe working on a high stool would be efficient or comfortable.

• Treadmill desks have been around for awhile and some people swear by them. Of course, they don’t get around the problem of standing too much; however, at least your legs are moving and the circulation problems associated with standing in a fixed position will be alleviated. Sore feet may also be less of a concern. However, people who are overweight, pregnant or those with specific health concerns, e.g. heart problems, are not good candidates for a treadmill desk. I personally use a treadmill desk for reading reports, including some on my laptop, but I find it very unsatisfactory for writing or typing, other than for very brief notes. You might be able to get around this by setting your treadmill at a very low speed; I personally can’t see the point of getting on a treadmill if I’m not going to get some exercise benefit.

• The only solution that is really likely to work for most people is to get a sit/stand desk. This gives you the opportunity to balance your time between sitting and standing. As Petra says on, “the so-called diseases of aging – osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, pelvic floor disorders, high blood pressure, and more – are all diseases of movement. Not enough movement, and not the right movement.” I wouldn’t claim that the sit/stand desk will be the answer to all your health tribulations. You will still need to incorporate healthy exercise (and other healthy choices) into your lifestyle if you want to feel really good. But the sit/stand desk is a change you can make to your life right now and you can incorporate it while doing something, i.e. work, that you need to do anyway.
The next article is going to include sections on 1) how to convince your boss, 2) how to choose the right desk for yourself, 3) a discussion of some related accessories and 4) maybe a couple more reasons why you should start right now.

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