Are standing desks worth it? Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been the topic of much debate in recent years, and consequently we've seen a host of new inventions designed to break what has been the norm for many.
So logically, it would make sense that a desk that stops you from spending all day sitting might be beneficial. But is it really as straightforward as that?
There are certainly benefits to not sitting all day. But standing all day instead is not automatically the panacea to all our ills. So here are the pros and cons of standing desks, to help you decide whether one might be worth it for you.
Are Standing Desks Worth It?
We'll start with a little discussion of why standing desks are a thing. In summary, there are some studies that conclude that 'prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity.'
Prolonged sedentary time in our modern world can be viewed as either laying in bed, sitting on the couch, or sitting at your desk...and let's face it, we're all a little guilty of doing one for longer than we should.
So if it turns out that sitting at your desk is less than ideal, how much can standing desks help with this? And is there anything to be concerned about?
What Is A Standing Desk?
Briefly, a standing desk is a desk that you use from a standing position, rather than sitting down. Many standing desks are adjustable for height, and there are even sit-stand desks, which allow you to alternate between sitting and standing. And finally, there are desk converters, which allow you to change a conventional desk into a standing desk.
But what exactly are the benefits of moving to this type of set-up?
Benefits Of A Standing Desk
We've already mentioned many of the potential drawbacks of a sitting desk, what exactly are the benefits of a standing desk?
Spending a long time in a sitting position tends to restrict how often we change position. In turn, this can lead to slouching, which can in some cases lead to pain in the back and neck over time.
When you're standing you tend to naturally move around, and without a back support, there's nothing to lean back into and relax into a more comfortable (but potentially less comfortable in the long-run) position.
There are also suggestions that using a standing desk may improve mood, boost productivity and lose weight. So it looks like there are plenty of potential benefits to going from a sitting desk to a standing one. But it doesn't automatically mean that all your ills will be cured.
While it seems to be the case that reduced sitting is better for you, there is arguably another side of the coin.
We have to remember that everyone is different, and not all people are able to stand for long periods of the day. Having a standing desk is great, but as we mentioned, it's not a one-stop solution for all your ills.
Generally speaking, changing position regularly, taking breaks away from your desk, stretching, and doing regular exercise outside your working day, are all seen as healthy habits to break any possible downsides to prolonged sitting.
Is A Standing Desk Right For You?
Ultimately, as with all these things, it will be entirely down to personal choice about whether or not a standing desk will be worth it or not.
If sitting all day is uncomfortable or causing you pain, then a standing desk could be a great solution. And a standing desk does afford a little more opportunity for you to change position, as opposed to being in an office chair.
You may also prefer the way that a standing desk looks in your space, and making this choice purely on the basis of aesthetics is entirely legitimate.
We mentioned them earlier, but the best of both worlds might actually be the answer. A sit-stand desk allows you to sit for a period, then stand then sit again. This lets you enjoy the benefits of both setups, while mitigating some of the potential risks of being stuck in one position for too long.
Sure, you could look at every study under the sun to find evidence for the benefits of standing desks, but it's ultimately about your own circumstances and how you feel with your current working setup.