Article about standing desks not having any real health benefits.
I think it has been known for a while now, I know at least when I bought mine (2014) there was already doubt if there were any solid health benefits. For me I like the productivity benefits of it. I get bored (and more likely to procrastinate) with just sitting all day, and find that if every time I start to lose focus I work standing for 20-30 minutes I can get more done.
I remember that little bubble in time recently when people first got Fitbits and then got treadmill standing desks. It even escaped a bit outside Silicon Valley. I don’t know anyone using one of those now.
Sitting for long periods can be bad, but sedentary standing isn’t necessarily the fix.
While we cannot draw any conclusions about the health benefits of standing desks, it look to me, based on the article and statements made by the experts in it, that we can conclude with a fairly high degree of certainty that moving around is good.
If, of course, all you do is stand at your standing desk for 8 hours on a hard floor, slouching, wearing bad shoes, then sure, you’ll likely end up with the varicose veins, clots, and sore joints that so many food service and retail employees are well documented to routinely suffer from!
If a standing desk can contribute to moving around, and proper ergonomic precautions are taken (antistress mat, proper posture while standing/sitting), then that seems like a good thing.
I have used a standing desk for the past two years and would not trade it for anything. I suffer from minor back issues and the standing desk has helped strengthen the muscles in my back which alleviates some of the issues I was experiencing. I too think that it is safe to say that moving more and sitting less is a healthy trade.
I’ve got a sit-stand desk and personally the benefit for me has been the ability to switch between sitting and standing when I’m working at the desk for a long period of time. I probably spend less than a quarter of my time standing, but even that relatively small amount makes me feel much better at the end of the day.
The article doesn’t actually say that standing desks are not healthy; it says that there is no rigorous science demonstrating a benefit. That’s a very different thing.
Parts of the article suggests that standing all day long at your desk has negative effects on your health. But I don’t think anyone uses a standing desk that way.
We know that sitting all day long has negative effects on your health. There’s plenty of good science demonstrating this. It can’t hurt to alternate between sitting and standing, and doing so I would think constitutes “moving”.
For myself, my legs get very uncomfortable if I sit OR stand too long, so whether or not standing desks are “healthy” or not is a moot point to me. A standing desk makes my work life more comfortable and increases my productivity. Any health benefits would be a bonus.
I think the take away here is that sitting all the time is bad, standing all the time is bad. You need to at the very least move around for a few minutes an hour. For some people the ability to switch between sitting and standing will be a huge help, but if you don’t switch (from sitting or standing) you’re not addressing the problem.
I’ve been using a standing desk for almost exactly 8 years. I probably do 50/50 sitting/standing – hard to guess because I go back and forth unconsciously. I now find it uncomfortable to sit for long periods.
I have a sit/stand desk and change positions throughout the day. At least once an hour. Doing that stopped a bunch of nagging discomfort I had either only standing, or only sitting.
I got a sit/stand desk (via a VariDesk sitting on top of my standard desk) back in the Spring. 95% of the time, I’m standing because the combination of the VariDesk, the standard desk, and my chair isn’t comfortable and causes more trouble than I’m willing to accept.
Health issues related to back/neck stiffness was almost completely gone for me once I switched to a desk that I can stand or sit at.
I had a standing/sitting desk when I was a dispatcher years ago. Brand new in 2006 and used it until 2010. I rarely stood up. Any more I stand, sit and move about as much as possible. My desk can be counter, a work station in a vehicle or anything in between.
It feels good to get up and move about.
While I do have a standing desk at my office, it seems to me that a person could save a lot of money just by setting a timer every 25 or 30 minutes telling him/her to to stand up and walk down the hall to talk to another human being, or to get a cup of water or coffee. Better yet, do the old-fashioned “pace around the office and dictate” routine. Then, mix up a martini, rinse, and repeat.
I think I might get one of these numbers once I retire.