We’ve all heard it before, sitting is bad for you. Sitting is the new smoking. But rather than re-emphasizing the dangers of sitting, let's step through the numerous benefits of standing, walking, or even pedaling – movement – has on both your health and mental well-being.
If you look at time spent sitting of the majority of the population, you’ll find that most time spent sitting is preformed while at a desk. In fact, according to research, the average office worker spends an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk. The same study also found that those who sit longer at work are more likely to sit more outside of work.
Overall, sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950 and physically active jobs now make up only about 25% of our workforce, which is 50% less than in 1950. Additionally, our average work week is longer. Americans now work 47 hours a week–164 more hours a year than 20 years ago. On top of time spent sitting in the workplace, on average, we spend 7 hours sleeping and 4.3 hours of watching tv a day.
Now to keep things simple, in terms of weight gain, any additional calories consumed outside of those required for metabolism and not burned off by physical activity, your body will store in the form of fat. While exercise is the most effective way to burn off excess calories, choosing to stand over sitting will burn more calories, which in return results in weight loss. Studies have produced varying results on exactly how many additional calories are burned when using a standing desk, but for the most part you will burn anywhere from 20 to 50 additional calories per hour using a standing desk vs sitting.
A study was preformed where 23 office workers of varying ages and body masses used a sit-stand desk where the alternated between sitting and standing throughout an 8-hour work day. The study found that the participants reported a 31.8% reduction in standing desk back pain when compared to sitting for the entire work day.
Switching from a seated desk to a standing desk will help alleviate pains created by or worsened by sitting through placing less strain on your musculoskeletal system.
Using a standing desk reduces your risk of obesity and heart disease, lowers blood sugar, reduces cholesterol, alleviates musculoskeletal aches and pains, increases productivity and creativity, improves mood states, and increases energy levels. To take these benefits one step further, integrating a treadmill desk or bike desk will provide additional health benefits and enhance upon the benefits of standing while working. There's no better time then now to take a stand for your health and start integrating movement into your workplace.
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