Days of sitting down in the office for long hours at a time can lead to the development of chronic problems such as back pain, joint pain, and other conditions. In fact, various medical studies have shown that the longer the hours you spend in your chair, the higher your risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cancer. These studies led to the diagnosis of ‘sitting disease,’ a condition that you cannot improve even if you go the gym in between periods of sitting. This is the reason why I decided to stop sitting and start standing up for my health, literally.
Health Benefits of Standing up at Work
In an article by Patrick J. Skerrett published in the Harvard Business Review, sitting for long periods at a time at the office does the body harm because the human body is designed for activity and movement, something which prolonged sitting restricts. This was proven by a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology which showed that prolonged periods of sitting and inactivity were directly linked to cardiovascular disease mortality. Standing offers a better solution since it strengthens the back, promotes better posture, and improves balance. It also burns more calories. According to Dr. Robert Schwartz standing up offers more benefits since it forces us to use more muscles, and it forces us to unconsciously shift our weight.
How I Made the Change
Making the change was easy. Standup desks are available in different sizes and heights, and most of them come in adjustable designs so you can adjust the height to what is comfortable for you. The addition of a standing mat made the transition easier for me as well. A standing desk mat, also known as an anti-fatigue mat is designed to take the pressure off your joints while standing. I knew that I would need a standing desk mat once I make the transition to the standing desk because I tend to feel pressure on my lower back after 30 minutes of standing. A good standing desk mat like the Lets Gel Inc standing desk mat was the perfect compliment to my standing desk. My Lets Gel Inc comfort standing desk mat has a shock absorbing gel core, which cradles my feet in a comfortable and cool gel cushion. Now I can stand for longer periods in comfort, without any risk of hurting my joints and back.
Healthy living requires that all things be done in moderation. Therefore, it is also important to note that while standing up at work does have its benefits, overdoing it can be harmful as well. Standing up should not be done excessively to the point that it causes too much pressure on the joints, even if you are using an anti-fatigue mat. I often take a rest and sit down or take a short walk in between periods of standing just to boost the circulation to my legs and experience a little bit of movement before diving back to work again.