Back in the 19th century, a desk that you could use while standing was the bourgeois luxury of the time. Fast forward to the first quarter of the 21st century, and we’re seeing the trend pick up again. What’s happening? Did our centuries somehow collide with one another? Or are people starting to buy standing desks for good reasons? There’s a lot of back-and-forth going on regarding the standing desk innovation, and I’m going to try to clear all of it up for you so that you can make an informed decision as to whether you should buy one or not.
Almost everyone on the web is touting the health benefits of getting a standing desk. This comes from a very simple theory, and it goes something like this:
“What’s the biggest health problem right now?” – “Heart disease!”
“What do we do with most of our time?” – “We sit!”
As a result, we associate heart disease with sitting down excessively. Standing desks were seen as a solution to this problem. If you’ve ever worked from 9 to 5 at the checkout counter of a grocery store for more than a year, you’d know that standing for many hours does things to your body, too. Added to the fact that you’re now relying on your wrists to ease off a little weight from your feet, you end up increasing your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
So, should we completely discount the health benefits of standing desks, given the risks?
Is There a Net Benefit, Anyhow?
There are many people, like the fellow in the image below, who will comment on articles like this one touting the eye-opening comfort of standing up on your feet without any pause.
This example was very transparent (HealthyOfficeSpace). There are others that aren’t as obvious, though.
The conclusion of the medical community is that “limited evidence was found to support a positive relationship between occupational sitting and health risks.” However, we can’t deny that the body needs a little bit of leg stretching here and there.
So, if standing up for too long is bad and sitting down for too long will really shorten your life, then what are you supposed to do?
If you badly want to get a standing desk anyway, get one that’s adjustable. That way, you can turn it into a sitting desk at any time when you’re feeling exhausted. Your fine motor skills are impeded when you’re standing, sometimes making it difficult to adjust your mouse precisely, so you may have to use the sitting function a lot if you’re a designer.
What if you like your cozy chair and don’t want a bunch of ergonomic gizmos in your house or workplace? Just stretch your legs every twenty minutes or so. Get out, walk a short distance, and keep that circulation flowing. When you’re sitting, your circulation starts getting lazy and your legs go into “Save me!” mode. Give them a little whirl, and they’re back in tip-top shape!
While you are here, don’t forget to check out the various ways to prevent Repetive Strain Injury while you are typing on the keyboard.
Let Us Know About Your Experiences!
Do you have a standing desk and feel like I didn’t tell the full story? Comment below with your story and how your life has gotten better or worse as a result of your desk!