Stand up or standing desks is a workplace tool that has been growing in popularity by knowledge workers for the last 2 decades.
But what do physiotherapists have to say about this type of office furniture?
See below comments from two Australian physiotherapists who present their views from experience with their patients.
Deborah Chen, Registered Physiotherapist has written “ We often see people in the clinic with headaches, neck and back pain from sitting slumped at their work desks all day. The perils of sitting for hours on end can cause many health issues not just with your muscles and joints but it can also increase your risk of obesity / heart disease. So then you think… ‘these stand up desks are pretty popular maybe I should just stand at work instead!’ It’s quite the brilliant idea but even standing at work comes with its own set of risks.
The Pros of Standing on the Job
She continues “People have reported that standing on the job has made them more productive and energized – you burn more calories standing at your desk vs sitting at your desk.
It’s easier to engage and disengage from what you’re doing and you don’t have to make the conscious effort to get up from your desk and move as you tend to naturally move while standing anyway.”
In addition “People who suffer from back pain notice a reduction in pain with standing at their desk as it allows them to move more and this reduces the flexed position of the lumbar spine as well as lubricates the joints with the added movement.”
The Cons of Standing on the Job
“Adjusting to a standing desk – any change takes time and going from 8 hours of sitting to 8 hours of standing is a pretty big change. It also means that you can’t hide your comfy Ugg boots under the desk and it would be more advisable to wear the ugly granny shoes that have the good arch support instead of the awesome new high heels.”
There have been reports that standing for extended periods increases your risk of varicose veins.
So how do you find the balance?
“An adjustable standing desk is your best bet! Something that can allow you to stand or sit at work. While you’re standing it’s advisable to make sure you wear comfortable and supportive shoes and invest in a gel mat to stand on. You could also get standing desk chair for the moments you do want to sit. Be wary of how you do stand or sit – awareness is the key!”
You can read the full report of what Deborah Chen, Registered Physiotherapist has to say about this topic and more at https://www.inspiredphysio.com.au/stand-desks-good-bad/
Here is a short recap of an INTERVIEW with :
Michael Bushel, a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist who works in Australia
Why are office workers at risk due to sitting?
“ Long hours affect office workers because of the inactive sedentary nature of sitting. In fact, there’s been some recent data published showing that the amount of time that people spend sitting over their lives can correlate to an increased risk of all causes of mortality. That’s including heart disease and certain cancers and the development of Type-2 by diabetes.”
Is sitting really that bad for you?
“ According to some data, just like things like smoking, we don’t see the effects of sitting in the immediate term. We see it over the long term. This is why sitting has been coined ‘The New Smoking’.”
What are the benefits of using standing desks?
“After they have established that habit, they’ll start to feel that their productivity at work will have increased, and they’ll start feeling the health benefits of avoiding sitting for too long at work and those benefits include having more energy, vitality, having more concentration. Over time, they will be able to develop a habit of making a conscious effort to stand and move around during the office during the day because they know they’re getting better outcomes in their work productivity and their health.”
You can read the full report and all of Michael Bushel’s comments here: