Stand-up Computer Desks: Take a Load off your Seat

Stand up Computer Desk

Stand up Computer Desk

Scientific studies have found that long periods of inactivity can cause physical problems for people, even if they exercise daily.

While sitting at a desk for hours on end working diligently can increase chances of getting a promotion — it can also increase chances of developing heart disease. Too much sitting can result in the accumulation of plaque deposits in arteries and the inflammation that accompanies it. In addition, it’s been linked to the development of insulin resistance associated with developing diabetes. The American Institute for Cancer Research links prolonged sitting with increased risk of both breast and colon cancers, and other studies have shown a correlation between prolonged sitting and depression.

Because the “sitting disease” is so prevalent, the American Medical Association — the nation’s largest physician organization — voted June 18, 2013, during its Annual Meeting to adopt a policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting. Its members encourage employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting, such as standing work stations and isometric balls.

Standing increases energy, burns extra calories, tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow and ramps up metabolism. However, standing for long periods of time can cause lower back pain and varicose veins.

When using a standing desk, it’s important to take sitting breaks, wear anti-fatigue footwear, stand on a padded mat to reduce stress on feet and legs, and place a footrest under the desk to rest one foot at a time on it to give each foot a break during the day.

If a standing desk isn’t a good fit, employees can buy and bring in devices to increase activity during the work day such as under-the-desk stair-steppers or cycles that allow lower-body movement while typing; or a stability ball to sit on instead of a chair, which creates movement by engaging the body’s core muscles. Setting a timer and doing periodic stretches or taking short walks also increases activity.

Although I still sit at a desk at work all day (I’m a writer), I bought a stand-up desk for about $200 a year or so ago for my home, and enjoying the benefits of standing while using it there in the evenings and on weekends. And — believe me — having to stand has cut down on my web surfing dramatically!

To read posts about my other athletic activities, see:

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