The standing desk is officially “in” right now. And while naysayers claimed the standing desk trend was a fad that would quickly pass, research continues to expose the health risks of sitting all day at work.
Not only are standing desks not a fad, they’re not new at all. A glance back at history shows that a number of regular folk as well as luminaries like Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway stood at their desks.
More recently, news outlets like the New York Times, Men’s Health and the Daily Mail have also been looking into the matter, as well as countless bloggers. The conclusion is roundly the same across the board: It’s not great to sit all day. In fact, it is significantly increasing your chances of health problems and even an earlier death.
This is what sitting all day does to your body:
- Switches off the electrical activity in your legs
- Drops metabolism down to burning a single calorie per minute (you burn more chewing a piece of gum)
- Enzymes that break down fat decrease by 90 percent
- Good cholesterol drops by 20 percent
- Insulin effectiveness drops by 24 percent
- Shortens hip flexors
- Weakens glutes and hamstrings, affecting your standing posture
Sitting all day at work also increases chances of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and heart attacks. These effects apply to those who exercise as well. Research has unfortunately concluded that even regular exercise after work does not negate the effects of sitting at a desk all day, regardless of the workout’s intensity.
Ready to switch to a standing desk? Not so fast. Human beings were not meant to sit all day — but they weren’t meant to stand all day either. Standing all day contributes to:
- Sore feet
- Swollen legs
- Varicose veins
- Lower back pain
- Increased chances of carotid atherosclerosis, a degenerative disease of the arteries
Researchers agree that a healthy mix of sitting, standing and moving throughout the day is the way to achieve maximum health benefits while on the job. Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics research program at Cornell University, advises people to sit at a desk with proper posture for twenty minutes, then to stand up and move for two minutes and repeat. Or, if you do switch to a standing desk, be sure to move around and sit every so often as well.
Zimmet Vein & Dermatology is Austin’s premiere vein care facility. If you have been struggling with varicose veins or spider veins, please review our treatments page or feel free to contact our office today to find out how you can regain your vein health.