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A Trend That Might Need a Second Look – Are You Still Using Your Standing Desk?

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Today, we're looking into a trend that has taken the working world by storm in recent years: the ever-popular standing desk. When this product was launched, it seems like all at once, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and rushed to buy one of these upright workstations, all in the name of health and productivity. But, as the familiar saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Does the trend have staying power? It’s time to revisit the ongoing debate of whether standing is indeed better than sitting at work.

The History of the Standing Desk

The standing desk gained huge popularity in the early to mid-2010s. It was during this time that people began to embrace the idea of using standing desks as a way to fight the negative effects of prolonged sitting. While the idea of standing while working isn't entirely new, it experienced a wild resurgence in popularity at this time. Around the same period, the catchphrase "Sitting is the new smoking" was promoted to emphasize the potential health risks associated with sitting for long periods, drawing a parallel between sitting and the well-documented health hazards of smoking. This saying certainly gave traction to the movement! The notion of standing over sitting at work became somewhat of a rally cry.

The Key Question We Must Ask – Is this even true? Refuting the Popular Catchphrase: Sitting is the New Smoking

If the standing desk trend emerged along with the highly promoted idea that prolonged sitting is as bad as smoking for our health, the question is: Is this even true? It is TRUE that a sedentary lifestyle can indeed lead to serious health concerns like obesity, heart disease and a wide range of other issues. It is TRUE that as humans, we generally don’t get enough movement in our days. However, this matter deserves its own conversation. A sedentary lifestyle and sitting while working are different subjects entirely and not a far comparison.

While it's true that both prolonged sitting and smoking have serious health risks, equating the two is a gross oversimplification. Smoking is a well-established leading cause of preventable deaths worldwide, contributing to various deadly diseases. On the other hand, sitting, when done responsibly and in moderation, is not inherently harmful. The truth is the risks associated with sitting vs. smoking are vastly different. It's essential to consider the context. While sitting at your desk in poor posture for eight hours a day may not be ideal, it's not equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Moderation and balance are key in both cases.

The issue here isn't merely sitting, and the solution isn't as straightforward as constantly being on your feet. Standing too long has its own host of problems.

So before you put away your trusty office chair, let's revisit the facts.

The Importance of Ergonomics: One crucial factor that's often overlooked in the standing vs. sitting debate is simple ergonomics. A well-designed ergonomic office chair can provide the support needed to reduce strain and discomfort during extended periods of sitting. Standing for hours on end without proper support can lead to its own set of problems, such as fatigue, varicose veins, and lower back pain.

Movement Matters: The human body was designed for movement. While standing does burn slightly more calories than sitting1, it's important to not overinflate this as being super helpful to your health. The key to a healthier workday is movement, not just standing statically. Make the effort to take short breaks and walk around, stretch, or even better, go outside at lunch and get some real exercise. These small efforts at getting movement in can be just as effective (if not more so!), in preventing the negative health effects of prolonged sitting.

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Balance is Key: The key takeaway here is that balance is crucial. Neither sitting nor standing should be taken to extremes. A workday rhythm that allows for you to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day is the best compromise.

Focus on Overall Health and Well-Being

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Instead of extreme comparisons, let's focus on improving our overall health in the workplace. Incorporating regular physical activity, maintaining a balanced diet, and managing stress are all vital components of a healthy lifestyle. Don't let fear-mongering headlines make you abandon your ergonomic chair altogether.

In the debate of quality office chairs versus standing desks, the verdict is clear: there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Whether you choose to sit, stand, or alternate between the two, the focus should be on sitting well, getting movement in and caring for your overall well-being. Clearly, you shouldn’t abandon sitting altogether. The right balance can make all the difference in your workday and a quality office chair is an indispensable part of a healthy and productive workspace.

If you are looking to improve posture and decrease pain while sitting, look no further than Anthros. Anthros is the only chair in the world that is guaranteed to improve posture or your money back. The science-backed, patented design is registered with the FDA as a posture-improving chair and is proven to have the lowest pressure (most comfortable) cushion on the planet (verified by university testing).

Take the next step to reducing pain, increasing comfort, and maximizing performance!

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References

1. Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School: "MET-hour equivalents of various physical activities," “Stand more, burn (slightly) more calories,” “The truth behind standing desks.”

2. Júdice, P. B., Hamilton, M. T., Sardinha, L. B., Zderic, T. W., & Silva, A. M. (2016). What is the metabolic and energy cost of sitting, standing and sit/stand transitions?. European journal of applied physiology, 116, 263-273.

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