What you probably don't realise when you're sitting at a desk is your posture while doing so. For me personally, I typically lean over to one side and often alternate between resting both forearms on my desk or only resting one arm at a time.
The moment I started using a standing desk, I realised just how off my posture was and began to be mindful of the way in which I carried myself while working. I tried to set myself up for success by keeping both feet side by side, my shoulders pulled down, and my body weight equally distributed rather than leaning off to or favouring one side.
As the days passed, I noticed less discomfort and tension overall in comparison to how I used to feel when I was working seated at a desk all day. My back bothered me less, and my neck felt less strained since my computer was more at eye-level.
I typically wear sneakers (tackies) to work on a daily basis as my career is that of a fitness professional, but on days in which I opted for loafers or flatter shoes, I could certainly feel it by that evening. Standing for multiple hours a day takes its toll on you in ways in which you may not feel right away.
Standing all day, or too many hours throughout the day actually poses more risk factors than sitting all day does.
A study in the Journal of American Epidemiology found that a combination of standing and sitting actually produces the most benefits. Following a 20:8:2 regimen - sitting for 20 minutes, standing for 8 minutes, moving for two minutes, and then repeating throughout the workday is recommended.
A study performed by the American Heart Association determined that on average standing burns an extra 0.15 calories (0.6 kJs) per minute compared to sitting. While this doesn't seem significant, the calories burnt certainly add up - about 54 calories (225kJ) per day for the average 68kg person.
One unexpected benefit of having a standing desk was that I actually became more productive. I felt more "free" overall, as it was easier for me to move from task to task. I could head over to a whiteboard and take a few notes manually, or run over to chat with a coworker, and then go back to my desk with ease. I felt more like a collaborator in my work space and was unable to check off a few more things than usual on my daily to-do lists.
Music really did seem to trick me into standing for longer periods of time. Whether it was because I could respond to emails while sidestepping and singing, or that it simply took my mind off of things, it worked. The right playlist can certainly increase productivity, and in this case increase endurance, too (and there's research to back it up).
According to Inc., assistant professor in the music therapy programme at the University of Miami, Dr Teresa Lesiuk, performed research with findings that "those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and had better ideas overall than those who didn't."
Based on my positive experiences using a standing desk at work, I plan to continue to do so more often than not moving forward. The benefits outweigh the cons, and as a fitness professional, it seems like a necessity more than an option.
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