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Blog series Pt 1: the history of standing desks

Supplier: Ergomotion
30 July, 2014

Let's start with this idea: our bodies were not designed to sit. To explain this further we must look back to the times where bipedalism was evolving. In this era an upright gait was always maintained and we were fitter than ever, our hands became available for other uses.

Think back to the dawn of mankind, where we were running, hunting, walking, crawling, throwing, swimming, and carrying every single day to survive.

We weren't relying on computers, machinery and electronics to do things for us - we did it all ourselves.
 
Fast forward many years to 1797, when Presbyterian minister Job Orton uttered the following words:

"A sedentary life may be injurious. It must therefore be your resolute care to keep your body as upright as possible when you read and write; never stoop your head nor bend your breast. To prevent this, you should get a standing desk."
 
During the 18th and 19th centuries, more and more people started to see how standing while working and writing could assist in increasing productivity, enhancing concentration, and promoting creativity.
 
Standing desks were even seen as a sign of prestige: many notable leaders, artists and writers used standing desks, including Ernest Hemingway, Leonardo Da Vinci, Napoleon and Winston Churchill.
 
Since machines have taken over the bulk of work in various industries like construction, mining, and farming, workers are now becoming more accustomed to taking a seat (literally). 
 
There's been a steady increase in sedentary jobs since the 1950s: according to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83 per cent since the middle of last century; now, 75 per cent of our jobs are sedentary, in comparison to the 25 per cent that are physically active.
 
Sedentary lifestyle result in poor posture 
 
How many times have you complained about a sore back, stiff shoulders or shooting neck pains? Has it become something you just accept? Poor posture has most commonly become second nature to us. Amongst sitting at our desks all day, driving, slinging a bag over the same shoulder, and bad sleeping positions, we're settling for bad posture and finding it harder and harder to correct.
 
Additionally, seemingly simple tasks – such as lifting or carrying – can instigate significant damage to a back that has been weakened by years of prolonged sitting.
 
We've evolved from hunter-gatherers who kept an upright, moving posture all day, and changing that to a sedentary, weak lifestyle! 
 
As Job Orton explained, getting rid of your chair and office desk for a stand up desk (at its correct height) means you'll have the opportunity to stand up straight, strengthening your back muscles that have previously been static. 
 
Sitting all day in an office chair can potentially allow us to twist or hunch our bodies into awkward positions, often to relieve back or lower leg pain. This relief is only temporary and it's causing more havoc on our bodies than we may realise. 
 
Adjustable standing desks can change the way you work!
 
An adjustable standing desk gives us the freedom to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, and that's the clincher here: you should never force yourself to stand all day; instead, at the push of the button, switch it up as many times as you need to during the day. 
 
Keep up with the series and join us for part two in a fortnight: standing, sit stand, and height adjustable: what's the difference? 
 
(PS: There are many other health risks associated with sedentary sitting, and we'll address them in greater detail in part three - stay tuned!)

Think back to the dawn of mankind, where we were running, hunting, walking, crawling, throwing, swimming, and carrying every single day to survive.
We weren't relying on computers, machinery and electronics to do things for us - we did it all ourselves.
 

Blog series Pt 1: the history of standing desks