Do Sit-Stand Desks Do Any Good?
At least that’s the message behind the latest in office furniture – the sit-stand desk. And the premise is certainly true. Americans spend as many as 13 hours a day sitting, with about 7.5 of those hours spent sitting at work.
Studies support the link between prolonged sitting and health problems, some suggesting that sitting for more than 3 hours a day is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. We know we should take regular walking or standing breaks, but the demands of work often make that difficult to impossible.
Sit-stand desks can be adjusted to enable employees to work while sitting down or standing up. They are not a new idea. Leonardo Da Vinci may have employed a standing desk while painting the Mona Lisa, and Thomas Jefferson is known to have used a height-adjustable standing desk.
So are these not-quite-new-age furnishings the answer?
Maybe so. A 2013 study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that employees who used standing desks experienced increased calorie expenditure, burning an average of 174 calories over an afternoon of standing. A study from Australia suggested that replacing 2 hours of sitting with standing each day may have metabolic benefits, including improvement in blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
No doubt these standing desks take some getting used to for those of us so accustomed to sitting. But all indications are that the adjustment could pay off in better long-term health.