Sometimes even the best of intentions need a little help along the way. If your New Year’s resolutions include exercising or generally improving your health, it’s important to put the groundwork in place to facilitate moving toward your goals. Considering that many of us spend the majority of our days in sedentary positions, sitting at a desk or at home on a couch, replacing much of those hours with a more active lifestyle has obvious appeal (although who among us can power down the computer and still make a living these days?)
For those looking to make a small or even a dramatic change to their sit-down lifestyle, a standing desk can set the tone for a new approach. By eliminating eight hours of sitting from your day, it’s possible to reduce heart attack risk by over 50 percent. That’s not to mention the general energy you’ll feel from being able to move about, walk in place, and get your blood flowing.
If you’re considering a stand-up desk but not quite convinced, here are seven reasons that standing to work may be a good idea:
1. You Can Lose Weight
Just in time for that resolution, right? Standing requires more energy than sitting, so you’ll burn more calories throughout the day and maintain a faster heart rate. You’ll also be able to release more energy throughout the day if you grow restless. Don’t be afraid to run in place, jump up in down, or dance a little bit to get your blood flowing.
2. Standing Alleviates Back Pain
Most people who sit all day experience at least some occasional back pain. Standing provides immediate relief to lower back pain, keeping back muscles engaged and strengthening them for the long term. Keep those shoulders back and you’ll even improve your day-to-day posture.
3. Experience Less Fatigue
Sitting often turns into slouching, which can quickly lead to snoozing. If you find yourself fighting to stay awake after lunch or becoming sleepy late in the day, a stand up desk will help you stay alert and focused.
4. Live Longer
In addition to the aforementioned heart attack statistic, a New York Times Magazine study found that the death rate for men who sit six or more hours a day was 20 percent higher than for those who sit for fewer than three. The stats for women were even worse — a difference of 40 percent. If that doesn’t make the case for standing, what does?
5. Be More Productive
When you’re more alert, you’re also more likely to stay on task. Because standing can be slightly less comfortable than sitting, we’re less likely to waste time browsing the internet or playing games. Standing creates an innate sense of urgency that helps workers remain focused on the task at hand.
6. Gain More Storage
By raising your desk off the ground, you also uncover a foot or two of priceless real estate underneath. All of that clutter that needs to be within arm’s reach but simply junks up your desk surface can now find a place below, utilizing a file cabinet or shelving that can now fit underneath.
7. You Have Options
Whether you purchase an expensive, made-to-stand desk or simply prop your existing desk or a table up on supports, there’s no reason you can’t also sit down when your feet get tired. Keep a tall bar stool (even one with a back) at your desk so that you have the option of sitting or standing. Some of the more elaborate stand-up desks even allow adjustable height, so that you can literally raise and lower your desk surface at will.
Although most desk workers still choose to sit, the momentum for stand-up desks is growing. The benefits to health and productivity can be dramatic, leading more and more people to take the plunge and get on their feet.