As ergonomic desks rise in popularity it's becoming more and more common to see workplaces being part of a movement that was previously seen as "unconventional".
When standing desks were first being introduced into the workplace, you'd stand out like a sore (and tall) thumb in the office.
Benefits of height adjustable desks
However today, a quick search of "benefits of height adjustable desks", "benefits of ergonomic desks" or "who's using standing desks?" returns much research detailing exactly what happens – or rather doesn't happen – when we're spending hours on ends in a chair.
If you've come across any of the eight points below, it's time to seriously stand up and consider how an ergonomic desk could impact your health for the better.
1. Lower back pain
Would you say that your sitting position is relaxed? Try collapsed, instead.
Eight out of ten people experience some kind of lower back pain, and one of the most common causes is poor posture.
The reason for poor posture? Slumping, slouching and hunching over a computer screen or desk. Many office chairs do not support the natural curve of the spine (the part of your lower back that curves inwards), whereas standing ensures that the body supports the spine and can help to improve posture.
Sedentary sitting can also cause spine misalignment and muscle shortening – which is about as unpleasant as it sounds.
2. That 3 o'clock slump
We've all been there: lunch is over and we're two hours away from clock-off. Here comes the dreaded three o'clock slump. A sugar hit like junk food, soft drink or something similar will bring you back up momentarily, before feeling the slump all over again at 4 o'clock.
Standing can keep your energy levels constant and can make you feel more alert, increasing focus means improved productivity.
3. Neck and shoulder pain
Strains of the muscles, ligaments and tendons, or tissue damage, all contribute to neck and shoulder pain. Focusing intensely on a computer screen at work can place unfavourable torque on the neck muscles. An ill fit between chair height and desk height can also cause you to raise your shoulders (e.g. when you're typing on a keyboard). This inflicts unnecessary strain to the neck muscles, as well as the muscles at the base of the skull.
4. Tight hip flexors and pelvis muscles
Slipping down in your office chair can cause unwanted tilting of the pelvis, putting strain on the muscles and potentially severely damaging your hip flexors. Sitting causes your hip flexor muscles to shorten and tighten simply because they aren't being used. The imbalance between these tight muscles, combined with weak gluteus muscles, can pull the hip joint out of alignment.
5. You don't exercise
Weak back muscles often struggle to support the body. If you're not strengthening your back muscles and your abdominals, you're more susceptible to injuries. If you're sitting all day at work, does that mean you're sitting all night at home, too?
Eight hours of office work, seven hours of sleeping, three hours of leisure time (read: laptop and TV time), and one hour of commute reduces active time to a mere five hours a day.
6. You've read the facts
You obviously know your stuff. It can be frightening when you're confronted with statements like "sitting is killing you.", but the truth of the matter is scientific research has found a link between numerous health issues and prolonged sitting. Breaking up sitting time during your workdays can lower the risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
7. You're an "active couch potato"
Some research proposes that the damage done while sitting cannot be offset by those who exercise daily. This type of person is referred to as an "active couch potato": even if they are exercising, they're still spending the working hours of their day in a desk chair.
Considering an ergonomic desk?
We hope the outlined points have roused your mind and have got you seriously thinking about how a standing desk can change the way you operate – every day.