Last year, the internet exploded with articles about how awesome the standing desk is. How it can reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, certain types of diabetes, even cancer!

Last year, the internet exploded with articles about how awesome the standing desk is. How it can reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, certain types of diabetes, even cancer!

After I read Sitting is the New Smoking, I became a standing desk convert because apparently, exercising a few times week (or even more) isn’t enough to offset the damage brought about by sitting at our desks too long.

According to Dr. James Levine on the Mayo Clinic website, “Researchers have linked sitting for prolonged periods with a number of health problems and premature death from cardiovascular disease.”  So I started standing at my desk for 30 minutes at a time because I didn’t like the fact that my ergonomic chair was actually killing me softly.

If you’re considering changing up your office setup like I did, here are some practical pros and cons to consider from people who’ve actually tried it.

Pros:

You are more alert

Unless you’re exceptionally gifted in this department, who could doze off while standing? Standing at your desk will make it less likely for you to feel sleepy precisely because the position isn’t conducive to sleep. Standing at your desk also makes it easy for you to spot your boss or superior so you can close your social media tab and actually work (you aren’t supposed to be doing this anyway).

It actually increases productivity

Because you aren’t feeling as sleepy after lunch, you utilize your time doing actual work. And with increased alertness, you’ll be able to accomplish more tasks than when you’re sitting down, trying to keep your head up and eyelids open after your fast-food lunch-induced coma.

You burn more calories

According to this clever standing vs. sitting calorie calculator, people are most likely to lose 1,000 calories a week while standing at their desks than sitting down. It’s twice as much calories burned than when you run a 10k which approximately only burns 550 calories.

Not only that, standing involves more muscle contraction than sitting. And if you’ve ever “activated” any part of your body doing yoga, you’ll know that it’s a great way to get some form of exercise in your day.

Cons:

You have to consider your foot wear

Heels and uncomfortable leather shoes are a no-no when you’re standing at your desk. Heels are uncomfortable enough; imagine adding a standing desk to the equation. Not only does it increase the possibility of varicose veins in women, it also adds strain to your ankles, knees, not to mention the soles of your feet. Properly cushioned rubber shoes are your best bet, but it’s not like this is allowed in a corporate setting.

Your back will still hurt

Sitting for long periods is often made the culprit for your lower back pain and bad posture. But I found that standing at my desk shifted the strain to my upper back and shoulders instead. But maybe I just don’t know how to stand or I’m doing something wrong. The point is, you’re just putting the strain elsewhere.

Health benefits are speculative, at best

The use of standing desks is not only credited for reduced risk for obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases; it also improves your metabolism and decreases the chances of death from the above causes, thus lets you live longer.

While these benefits have studies and evidence to substantiate them; they are not significant enough to be credited to standing desks alone without considering other lifestyle and health factors.  Shifting to a standing desk won’t actually make you live longer and not die from a stroke if you don’t stop your other bad habits as well.

Conclusion:

The standing desk isn’t the solution to our many health problems. A lifestyle overhaul still is. Sure, a standing desk can fit it your new and improved lifestyle of clean eating and regular exercise, but it’s not the only change you have to make.

Nevertheless, if you’re investing in a new office set up, or asking your bosses to do so, keep in mind that the best way to harness just the pros and less of the cons is to find a balance between sitting down and standing up throughout your day.

Or if changing up your office set up is too inconvenient, try these tips on for size:

1. Stand up on your daily commute (if you’re in the Philippines, as if we have a choice anyway.)

2. Stand when you’re talking on the phone.

3. Walk to your colleague’s office instead of sending an email or a chat message.

4. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. 5. Have standing meetings instead.

What are your thoughts on the standing desk? Have your tried it before? Do you have more tips? Share it with us!

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