Modern Americans are the most sedentary people in world history. We sit nearly all day in our homes, cars, and offices—all before laying in bed for hours every night.
All of that immobility is adding inches to our waistline and subtracting years from our life. But there’s one very simple solution.
I’ve been using a standup desk for a decade now. I have one at home and another in my office. Both were custom made, but there are dozens of excellent plug-and-play models available. I’ll share some below.
I don’t stand all day, but I do stand for a big part of it. I take my health very seriously, and while there are risks in standing too long, by far it’s one of the healthiest things I do.
4 Reasons Standing at Work Beats Sitting
Here are four reasons a standup desk is well worth the investment—and might even save your life.
- Standing makes you feel happier and more energetic. A 2011 study in Minneapolis observed employees both sitting and standing over the course of seven weeks. After establishing baselines for things like mood and vigor, researcher installed standup desks.
While standing, employees reported being happier and more energetic. Those results reverted to the baseline once they started sitting again.
- Standing burns more calories. Sitting is so low impact that chewing gum actually burns more calories. When we stand, however, our hearts pump about ten beats a minute faster than when we sit. Depending on weight, that burns up about fifty calories every hour.
So if all we do is stand from the time we arrive at the office until we leave for lunch, we can burn about 150 extra calories. Add it all up for a year and researcher John Buckley says it’s like running 10 marathons.
As a result, sitting compared to standing means wider waists, problems with blood sugar and insulin, higher LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), lower HDL cholesterol (the good stuff), and increased triglycerides. In other words: obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. No thanks.
Standing decreases your risk of death. All of these findings add up to one basic fact. Sitting for prolonged periods is risky business. The American Cancer Society ran a study from 1993 to 2006 and found that sitting six or more hours a day, compared to three or fewer, dramatically increased the odds of dying early of a preventable condition like heart disease.
Epidemiologist Steven Blair had a pointblank assessment after examining another study of sitters and standers: “Those who were sitting more were substantially more likely to die,” he said. I think I’ll just stand instead.
4 Easy Solutions That Can Work for You
Like anything, there’s a wide range of options when it comes to finding what standup desk is best for you. Here are four easy solutions for just about any budget to get you started.
- Bob Vila has several cost-effective DIY ideas here, including one made with just $22 worth of pieces from IKEA.
- You can get stands to sit on top of your existing desk, including the VARIDESK Pro Plus and the Stand Steady.
- There are several different adjustable desks that let you switch from standing to sitting, including the Rebel Desk and GeekDesk.
- And if you prefer a more classic look, you can try this chestnut cherry finish model from National Business Furniture.
Whatever solution you try, if you haven’t already invested in a standup desk, it’s time to take stand for your health and well being and push your chair to the corner.
Question: How many hours do you sit each day? You can calculate the time here. If it’s more than six hours, what could you do to cut that number in half starting today?