Are you sitting down? Well, then you’d better get to a height-adjustable desks before reading this…
You have most likely read about the ill-effects sitting for prolonged periods of time have on your health. You most likely thought to yourself that you would, in fact, like a height-adjustable desk to enable you to get up whenever you feel like the pre-lunch sit is getting a bit much. And you, most likely, left it at that and never asked your boss to invest in your health.
But the fact is that the more studies about this silent killer come to light, the more difficult it is to ignore them and keep sitting:
One paper, published in the The Journal of Physical Activity and Health, was based on studies from the University of Minnesota and only focused on the beneficial effects of standing.
This is what they found:
This research study examined the difference in caloric expenditure from sitting at a traditional classroom desk to standing at a standing desk. The results of this study demonstrate a significant increase in caloric expenditure while standing.
In more practical terms, a U.S. middle-school student spends an average 1003 hours per year in a classroom receiving structured learning. Therefore, students would expend approximately an additional 20,461 kcal (114 kcal/day) per year by using sit-stand desks.
The study looked at 20 school pupils – 10 males and 10 females – and measured the consumption of oxygen, the production of carbon dioxide and calculated the respiratory exchange ratio during and after periods of both sitting and standing. Basically, they were measuring how the body was burning energy.
It’s no surprise that standing burns more energy than sitting – but the results were much higher than anticipated. Just by standing, learners were able to burn 20,000 extra calories a year – a major benefit especially when you take into consideration that the extra effort is close to negligible.
A more sinister picture, however, was painted by a study sanctioned by Public Health England and an advocacy group. Their research results were published in British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2015 and are pretty alarming.
Along with a 13% increased risk of cancer and more than twice the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, people who sit for too long have a seventeen percent increased risk of premature death.
Luckily these effects from sitting too much can be negated by something as simple as standing. Although regular exercise is obviously good for you, the best chance you have of not succumbing to one of the above diseases is to get up and perform some of your daily tasks at work while standing at a height-adjustable desk. “Even if you are meeting your physical activity guidelines, you cannot undo the risks of prolonged sitting,” said Gavin Bradley, director of the campaign group Get Britain Standing.
The experts recommend starting with two hours standing a day, eventually doubling that to four hours.
Height-adjustable desks come in three variations, and as the name suggests, allow the user to adjust the desk to a height – sitting or standing – that is comfortable to him or her.
Settable desks, like the Advance Desk from Elite, are height settable as standard, meaning that a series of predetermined holes in the legs of the desk allow for a range of heights that will suit most people and offer an ergonomic sitting position while at your desk.
Moving away from purely sitting at your desk, crank handle height adjustable desks give the user the freedom to move the desk between a sitting and standing height. Apart from being crank (or electronically) operated, the Ahrend Balance Adjustable Desks can act as a double workstation, offering the ideal way to either work closely together or concentrate on a task, whilst providing maximum space efficiency and individual adjustability. These desks can be moved separately so moving the desk up or down on the one side, would not affect the desk on the other side.
Lastly, and this is where things get fancy, there are electric height adjustable desks. These desks adjust their height at the press of a button and even remember height-preferences of several users (a handy feature if your office is all about hot-desking). The Canvaro Compact Bench Desk is in fact so clever it even sports collision avoidance technology; when moving up or down it can sense an object – like your little finger – being trapped between it and another desk and will immediately switch to moving in the opposite direction. This is especially handy as these desks have a lifting power of 70kg plus.