Are Standing Desks Good for You

Are standing desks good for you? We’re so used to the classic set up of a chair and stationary desk for working on a computer and it’s become the norm throughout offices all over the world. But there’s growing research into the potential health risks of prolonged sitting, which has sparked a rise in people using standing desks. You heard that right, desks but without your comfy swivel office chair to support you throughout the day, but don’t worry it’s not as bad as you think!  


Why do we sit? 

Sitting has been an integral part of our evolution, it helped conserve energy when moving longer distances or performing tasks became tiring. The structure of the human body enables us to have stability and balance when in sitting postures, which is not possible for other primates.  

When we sit down, it takes the weight off our feet and moves it towards the buttocks and thighs, giving rest to the feet, ankles and lower back to have much needed rest. This then prevents fatigue in the muscles we in the past, would need to use to stand, move to hunt or to get away from danger.  

The ability to sit comfortably allowed humans to develop more sedentary activities like crafting tools, reading, drawing and meditating. Sitting around fires or food to socialise and pass knowledge between each other was evolutionary beneficial.  

Today, sitting remains essential for cognitive activities and development, socialising, relaxation and recovery. But excessive sitting can negatively impact metabolism, our muscles, joints and cardiovascular function. Making sure we’re getting the right balance between sitting and standing is key to optimal health.  


Are Standing Desks Good for You


Sitting is the norm  

Sitting has become the social norm in modern day life, but even more so in the western world. Almost everywhere we go, whether that be in our homes, offices, public spaces or methods of transports. We sit around tables for our meals with our family, friends or colleagues, our desks at work, in cars, busses, and trains. Sitting down is now commonplace in every area of our lives. Is it for accessibility, convenience or have we just become lazy?

Well, it’s probably a mix of all those things. Having seats is necessary as those who have disabilities, are elderly or are pregnant require them to participant in everyday life. Plus, people need to sit down once in a while, we’re not that mean. Standing up doing some things might look pretty weird if you were out for a romantic meal, but standing could help burn off that meal quicker, especially if you choose a dessert!  

Obviously, we’re not calling for that drastic a change to our habits but making small changes could help improve the overall health and wellbeing of our societies. Change can happen incrementally, with small changes over a period of time. We can create a new normal, one that puts health first.  


Big tech popularity  

Most notably, the big tech companies in the Silicon Valley in the United States, such as Google, Meta and Apple, have implemented new trends in office culture, this includes installing standing desks throughout their headquarters. These companies cited the emerging research that was being released throughout the 2000’s and 2010’s as the motivations for their innovative ideas.

This was one of the reasons standing desks become synonymous with creative, forward thinking tech people, not just slides in the middle of the office, and maybe a few beanbags in the far corner of the room. These companies also used standing desks as a tool for leveraging new recruits as it gave off the feel of novelty. The big tech companies are the ones that drove the change within office and workplace culture, so ultimately, we have them to thank for revolutionising the modern office.  


Are Standing Desks Good for You

Are standing desks good for you?  

Standing desks are a great way for improving health and wellbeing, as they incorporate low-intensity physical activity into the workday. Just by standing instead of being sat down for long periods of the day engages more muscles, burns extra calories and promotes circulation in the body.  

Just by standing for periods of the day you can decrease the chances of developing conditions that sitting can do to you, such as heart disease or diabetes. Standing desks can greatly improve concentration and productivity, so if you’re struggling to stay focused at work, they might just be the thing for you.  

But, standing for too long can also fatigue muscles. The ideal is alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day, taking intervals. Standing desks aren’t the solution for everyone, as good nutrition and exercise are still extremely important. But they can be an effective tool to increase movement throughout the day. Remember, everything in moderation! 


Are there any negatives to standing desks? 

Although minimal, standing can have negative effects on the body, even more so when doing it excessively without the right amount of rest. We’ve compiled a list that gives balance to the debate, so here’s the main reasons standing can be bad for you:  

  • It can cause muscle fatigue, mainly in the legs and feet, over prolonged periods without movement it can lead to stiffness, aches and pains.  
  • If the desk or workstation isn’t properly designed for standing it can cause you to have poor posture and start slouching which can transfer the weight and strain to the neck and lower back.  
  • Standing still for long periods can cause blood pooling in the legs, leading to varicose veins over time, which isn’t ideal. 
  • People with arthritis can struggle standing over long periods as it can negatively impact their existing condition.   
  • Standing up without cushioned or soft flooring, as well as smart shoes aren’t very supportive to the ankles and may cause harm over time.  
  • Some people may find it harder to concentrate and find themselves getting distracted more often.  

Everyone is different and our bodies will react differently to situations like sitting or standing while working, so it’s important to try things out and see what suits you best.  


Are standing desks good for you


Why you shouldn’t sit for too long 

We know, sitting down can be comfy, even more so after a long day running round doing endless jobs, but sitting down for extended periods of time can cause numerous health issues for us in the long term. People over 65 often spend more than 9 hours a day sitting down, which can seem like a good thing if you tire easily, but it actually can cause more harm than good. Movement allows for the right circulation in the body, and that we don’t start to seize up.  

Just standing on its own without moving burns more calories than sitting, so just by sitting down during the day you are more prone to developing illnesses or conditions that could shorten your life.  


What approach is best for my health? 

If you’re someone that works in an office or a job where you’re required to sit down for long periods of time, it’s strongly advised that you start to implement practices that ensure you’re moving around more, getting more steps in or just simply standing upright more to improve general health and wellbeing, especially for your long-term health.  

If you can, look into getting a standing desk or ask your boss if the company could invest in some for your team. The benefits are proven, so if they’re unsure make sure to show them the evidence in how it could improve the wellbeing of their staff, maybe even hint that it might reduce the number of sick days that are taken… who knows?  

For some people standing up all day might not be so good it they suffer with conditions that could worsen if they’re on their feet all day, so just make sure you do what you feel is right for you personally.  


Ask a pharmacist  

e-Surgery offers a free to use ‘ask a pharmacist’ service which allows you to speak directly with one of our pharmacists to help you with any smaller medical needs that you don’t feel is worth the hassle of getting a GP appointment for. Our friendly team are here to give you piece of mind by identifying what your symptoms could be and offering the best prescription medication to help you resolve the condition if needed. 

All you have to do is complete a short consultation online then you’ll be put through to one of our medical professionals in a matter of minutes. It’s really that easy!