According to the UK Health and Security Executive, in 2016 over 1 million workers suffered from work related health issues.The harvard medical review links sitting for extended periods of time to premature death! Even more frightening, better health calls it the ‘new smoking’ due to its link to long term health issues.
If this doesn’t show you how detrimental sitting can be, we aren’t sure what will. Don’t despair though: the objective of this article isn’t to make you depressed, but to raise your awareness and help you to reduce these health issues. Believe it or not, standing at work can help a lot! Keep reading to find out how exactly that’s possible.
1. Pain reduction
According to Better Health sitting can lead to:
- Muscle atrophy
- Metabolic syndrome
- Your hip ‘flexor’ muscles shortening
None of that sounds good! Standing at your desk, or rather buying a ‘standing desk’ can help with all of that and more.
Some of the benefits of standing include a reduction in:
- Neck strain
- Shoulder Pain
- Leg Pain
- Lower Back Pain
This is because standing reduces the strain on your body. When you sit you lean forward, bend over, curve your spine in a ‘C’ and strain your neck. All of these things can exacerbate or even be the cause of the pain you feel in your body at the end of the day.
By standing, Cedars Saini says you are elongating your spine and restoring it to its ‘S’ shape. Just remember that you need to stand straight and maintain the proper posture!
2. Increase productivity
Standing can increase your productivity, according to the A Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health study. Increased productivity means higher efficiency and less work related stress, which will improve your health in the long run. Medical studies say that the relationship between stress and illness is ‘complex’, but a link clearly exists.
Standing stops you from feeling sluggish and reduces the need for a ‘pick me up’ coffee or snack.
3. Improves your stamina
Standing straight, engaging your core muscles and twisting from side to side every now and again can help you to exercise while at work. Orlando Health takes it a step further by saying that standing helps to exercise your legs too!
4. Improve your blood circulation
According to the European Heart Journal, standing improves the health of your heart, which:
- Decreases the chances of Cardiovascular Disease
- Decreases the chances of a Heart Attack
This study has been supported by Andrea LaCroix and Dr. James Levine, who argue that people who spend most of their time sitting are more prone to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. In fact, according to Andrea LaCroix, people who sit more 11 hours a day have the highest risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
5. Decreases the chances of
- Diabetes: This is because your insulin levels drop if you aren’t moving for a prolonged period of time.
- Cancer: The increase in insulin promotes cell growth and can lead to cancer.
6. Reduces the risk of
- Trucker’s disease: This is associated with sitting for extended periods of time.
- Swollen ankles: It is linked to poor circulation, which is associated with sitting for extended periods of time.
- Hemorrhoids: According to mayo clinic it can be caused by sitting for too long.
7. Strengthens your
All of the above mentioned points are linked to the fact that sitting for prolonged period of time slows your body down and is the cause of an array of illnesses and health complaints. By standing you are exercising your body, even if only a little, and reducing the consequences that you would otherwise experience.
How can I stand at work?
Standing at work isn’t always easy, especially if you have a desk job. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, however. You can avail the benefits described above by:
- Buying or building your own standing desk.
- Alternating between sitting and standing.
- When sitting, pick an office chair that’s best for long hours without hurting your back or neck.
- Using a bluetooth device so you can move around the office as you answer a phone call.
- Taking short breaks where you get up and move around.
- Mayo clinic suggests having a meeting where you go for a walk rather than sit in a conference room and chat!
Time to take a stand
So, in the end there are quite a few health benefits for standing up at work. If we have convinced you, you’re probably sending this article to your boss and coworkers right now! Remember, it’s never too late to change your habits and improve your health.