Recently, I have began researching standing desks. Over the last few months, I have been sitting more than I would like to be (one of the "costs" of expanding a website). Since I love to exercise and stay fit, I was worried that all that the excess sitting might weaken my back and lead to an injury. So I needed a solution. And not working on the website was not an option.
Well, if you have spent some time on my website, you will know that I am really enjoy finding practical and affordable solutions to problems. And stand up desks fit my philosophy. For all of the health benefits of standing desks (see Reason #2 and #3), the technology is relatively inexpensive (under $150 easily, even free). Compare that to other costs -- cost of health care, cost of college, cost of gym membership, etc -- and standing desks are a pretty good deal.
Here is my new stand up desk. Pretty cute! What I like about this model is that I can convert an existing desk (or table) easily into a standing desk. Because the desk is portable, I can carry it to another room very easily. If I know I will be working in a different location for a few days (like when I visit my family), I can put the desk in the car and bring it with me. The desk legs also can be raised or lowered to adjust the height, so users of all sizes can be accommodated.
A 2013 study reported that standing burns 50 more calories/hour than sitting, which if you do the math (and I like math), that means that standing just four more hours/ day (half the typical work day), would equal 1000 more calories burned each week, or roughly one pound of extra calories burned per month. Since I already exercise regularly, the standing option just makes it that much easier to maintain my weight and eat my favorite treats.
A 2013 study found that increased number of hours sitting was a risk factor in developing diabetes. Excess sitting is also associated with increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Standing desks, for most of us, provide an easy way to get us vertical, which improves all sorts of health factors. Even someone like me who exercises regularly and eats well can still gain many health benefits from standing more.
What I like about stand up desks is that the technology is very accessible for any age group, not just adults. Every household can have a "standing" area for checking e-mail, doing homework, even playing video games. For many parents, it may be much easier to implement a "standing" area than to initiate and monitor other modes of physical exercise. And if young people are exposed to sitting earlier in life, they are going to be less likely to become sedentary.
One reason I posted this page on my website is to raise awareness of this simple and inexpensive technology. At work, I am trying to use my stand up desk more to model a healthy behavior for my students. The desk itself is a great discussion generator, and I find my students are now more aware of excess sitting.
Before I had the desk, at the 10-minute breaks, students would sit in their chairs and get on their phones. Now, everyone stands up. And guess what? I noticed that when the students stand up for breaks, there is more personal interaction and less cell phone checking, a double-winner.
I now have another "tool" in my toolbox for maintaining a healthy and productive lifestyle. Do I never sit down anymore. No, that just is not possible! Now, I try to incorporate 15-20 minute standing sessions for replying to e-mail, working on the website, and browsing the internet, so I am no longer sitting for hours at time with no "real" breaks. So I am officially a convert to the standing up revolution!