Standing desks may appear to be an entirely new product, but they aren’t. They were first popular back in the 18th and 19th century in homes and offices of the wealthy. Some famed people even previously used standing desks, including Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway.
However, Churchill and Hemingway probably weren’t very aware of the many health benefits they were gaining by standing as they worked. According to numerous studies on sedentary behavior, most of the evidence suggests that sitting for long durations of time can be incredibly harmful for your overall health.
The Science Behind Sitting
So why is excessive sitting so harmful? The reasons are simply scientific, as there are physiological changes that occur after your body has been sitting for a prolonged period of time.
- When sitting, your metabolism drastically slows down. This leads to fewer calories burned throughout the day. In fact, as soon as you sit down, your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute.
- There is a decrease in production of good cholesterol, an increase in production of bad cholesterol and a resistance to insulin with excessive sitting.
- Prolonged sitting increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes and you’re more at risk for certain types of cancer.
- After 10-20 years of sitting more than six hours a day, you could shave seven quality years off of your life expectancy.
It is especially important to note that even those who exercise daily will not be exempt from the negative effects of prolonged sitting. This is simply because the majority of us still have a lifestyle that is sedentary – from sitting at work to lounging at home and sitting in our cars during rush hour traffic. Exercise is, of course, still extremely important and encouraged, but standing occasionally can vastly help to reshape and challenge the sedentary lifestyle that many of us now have.
A Balance of Standing and Sitting
Everything really does need to be done in moderation, opposed to the “go big or go home” mindset that so many have. Standing should be done in moderation as well. Standing all day can be uncomfortable and harmful, similar to sitting all day. The best benefits have been seen when an individual rotates between both standing and sitting throughout the work day.
There are many different types of standing desks that allow you to achieve a balance between both standing and sitting.