What do Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Facebook team all have in common? Answer – all of these people discovered the benefits of using a standing desk.
Sitting down all day is the fast-track to an early grave, so health concerns are one reason to choose to work standing up. There are also lots of other great potential benefits for people choosing this option such as improved energy levels, increased productivity, and a boost to creativity.
What is a Standing Desk?
A standing desk (aka stand-up desk) is a piece of furniture that allows people to type, write, or draw while standing up. Some of these desks are adjustable, and this means they can be used for both sitting and standing. There is also the option to choose a high-tech product with a built-in treadmill. Standing desks can cost thousands of dollars, but they can also be created for free by using just crates or boxes. A ‘desktop riser’ is an accessory that can turn practically any desk into a stand-up desk.
How Sitting Down All Day Can Damage A Career
It is doubtful that anyone who spends their days sitting at a desk is going to remain at the top of their game for long. This way of working leads to obesity, body aches, fatigue, back pain, mental sluggishness, and loss of muscle. Sitting down is a killer – doing it for more than six hours per day increases the risk of death within the next fifteen years by 40 percent. Anecdotal evidence suggests that working this way also increases the likelihood of experiencing creativity problems like writer’s block.
Human didn’t evolve to spend all their time in a sitting position. It just isn’t natural. Maybe in a few thousand years, the human body will adapt to the lifestyle of a computer slug, but this isn’t much help to people today. Spending too much time sitting down is lethal for the body, and it can prevent people from achieving success because of lack of energy, mental fatigue, and health worries.
How The Standing Desk Improves Health
Using a standing desk can mean burning an extra 50 calories an hour, or 400 calories for an eight-hour day. This can help to prevent obesity. It also encourages the production of chemicals that are needed to process sugars and fats. Blood circulation is improved by standing, so there is less chance of blood clots developing. This method of working can also reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, back pain, and repetitive stress injuries.
Improved Energy Levels With The Stand-Up Desk
One of the most common reasons for why people fail to achieve their ambitions is lack of energy. Thinking about exciting new projects can just trigger guilt and negativity unless the person has the energy to turn these ideas into reality. Career advancement is unlikely when just doing enough to avoid getting fired means being exhausted by the end of the day. Mental/physical energy can be the most precious resource in the world, and a standing desk may lead to a significant boost in it.
One of the benefits of standing while working is that it boosts endorphin levels. These hormones are released when the body is engaged in physical activity, and these feel-good chemicals energize the mind and trigger an increased level of alertness. One of the other benefits of moving around is that it temporarily reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make people feel depressed and unmotivated.
Standing up also has a psychological impact, causing people to feel more awake and ready for action. It is common for people who switch to the standing desk to report massive increases in energy levels after the initial period of adjustment.
Standing Up At The Office Means Improved Quality Of Sleep
It is hard for people to perform well in their career if they are suffering due to lack of sleep. A standing desk can make it easier for people to get the rest they need to function properly. It means they can burn off ‘restless energy’ during the day, and the extra activity means being sufficiently tired when hitting the pillow to fall into a deep sleep.
Free Your Mind With The Standing Desk
One of the wonderful benefits of a standing desk is it means not feeling so restricted. This ability to move around can make it easier to generate new ideas- it is certainly better than just sitting and staring at a blank screen. Walking is known to stimulate creativity and even just a few steps to the other side of the room and back can be enough to break through writer’s block. By freeing the body from the restraints of a chair, it also frees the mind.
Standing Desks Encourage Cooperation
One of the reasons Mark Zuckerberg encourages the use of stand-up desks is to increase cooperation in the Facebook team. It is just so much easier to walk over to chat with a colleague when standing at a desk. Sitting in front of a computer encourages people to slip into their own little world, so it acts as a barrier when it comes to cooperation and teamwork.
Warning – The Standing Desk Can Take A Bit Of Getting Used To
If people have never used a standing desk before, it can feel a bit strange. It can also be tiring in the beginning, and comes with the possibility of sore feet. A sudden switch to standing all the time could also trigger a bout of mild diarrhea, but this should resolve itself after a few days. It is possible to avoid most of the initial negative side-effects by using an adjustable desk and building up a tolerance for standing over a few weeks.
One of the potential long-term disadvantages of using a standing desk is it increases the risk of varicose veins. These swollen blood vessels that can appear on the legs aren’t very attractive, and there is a risk that they could eventually burst. One of the ways they can occur is from standing still for too long. The best way to avoid them while using the stand-up desk is to remember to shift position regularly.
Final Thoughts On Switching To A Standing Desk
It might be a bad idea to rush out and buy an expensive standing desk without first experimenting with this way of working. Some people just don’t like it, or it isn’t appropriate for them due to physical problems like injuries or disabilities. It is probably best to experiment first with a homemade standing desk made from boxes or existing furniture. An adjustable desk can be a safer purchase because it can still be used while sitting down.
The stand-up desk option is better with desktop computers than with laptops. This is because it is usually necessary to have the keyboard and screen at different levels. It is possible for this to work better with a laptop by adding an external keyboard.
Some people find that working in their bare feet is difficult while using a standing desk, because it can mean foot soreness at the end of the day. It can be more relaxing and healthier to not use footwear, and one solution is to use a mat beside the computer. This provides suitable cushioning to the feet and reduces the risk of soreness. The feet do harden up over time, a result of people using the standing desk for a few months.