The Benefits of Standing Desks.

 I was filling out a questionnaire on a food tracking app recently in my latest push to curb my carbs and calories to reduce the amount of insulin I use and keep my diabetes under control. My weight has crept up since starting insulin and I feel healthier and happier in my personal target weight range. "What has this got to do with standing desks?" I hear you ask.

Well, as part of this questionnaire it asked what my levels of activity were. Options were:

1. Office type job, mostly sitting, 

2. On feet most of the day.

3. Full time physical job with lots of lifting.

Well between my roles of mum and content creator I reckon I am a blend of 1 and 2. I swap between laundry, cooking and cleaning with sitting on my laptop for hours. I've got one of those watches which berates you for sitting too long and tells you to stand up. It goes off a lot when I'm writing.

I was interested to learn that if I stood to type I would not only burn more calories and limit blood sugar spikes but could also benefit from a range of physical and mental health benefits. 

Ok, so I could stand at my breakfast bar and tap away but without the surface being the correct height I could end up with back and neck issues which for me translate into blinding migraines which can wipe me out for days.

You might have seen standing desks like these Eiger Standing Desks and wondered if they were a fad, used only by trendy young things working in marketing or the like. But just a little research shows that people of any age could benefit from working at a standing desk. It might even be beneficial for children- useful to know as we approach exam season in the new year.

people working at Standing desk: Photo by TheStandingDesk on Unsplash

Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Burns more calories than sitting, even if you remain quite still. One study showed that a standing desk could help you burn off almost 1000 calories a week! The same study showed standing, especially after a meal helped keep blood sugars more stable than sitting. This is especially interesting for diabetics like me.
  • Improves posture, especially if the desk is adjustable. Some even convert from a standing to a sitting desk so you can ring the changes - some studies recommend swapping from sitting to standing and vice versa every 30 minutes.
  • Banish back pain. Workers with long term back issues have reported improvement in lower back pain after a few weeks of using standing desks. Another study revealed that using a standing desk reduced neck and upper back pain by 54% after just four weeks.
  • Mental health. Now, I didn't expect this. Standing desks appear to have a positive effect on mood and well being. Many standing desk users report feeling less tired and stressed than when they sat to work. Interestingly one study showed that of the 87% of respondents who reported feeling happier and more energetic when using a standing desk for some time found their mood and energy dipped when they went back to a traditional desk.
There are standing desks of all sizes and styles available ranging from mini desks for people like me working from home with not much free space, to all singing all dancing desks which remember multiple user's height settings and change to them at the touch of a button or even via Bluetooth.

woman working at standing desk:Photo by TheStandingDesk on Unsplash

Given that standing desks have also been reported to improve productivity, maybe it's time to start asking your boss to invest in some to create a happier, healthier work environment.