The Negative Health Effects of “Chronic Sitting”



Have you heard that “sitting is the new smoking”? It's more than hyperbole. It's an accurate description of the long-term effects of what happens to our bodies when they're doing something they're not designed to do. Sitting for 6 or more hours per day can lead to an array of health problems; increased risk of heart disease, circulatory problems, obesity, and diabetes have all been linked to chronic sitting.

Sitting at a desk all day long isn't just physically unhealthy. It can also be isolating, demotivating, and distracting. That set of negative mental health effects commonly referred to as “cubicle fever,” can lead to a decline in productivity.

Stand Up for Better Health

Chronic sitting is generally defined as sitting for more than 50 minutes of an hour at any given time. Standing up for at least 10 minutes per hour can dramatically reduce the negative impact of working at a seated desk.

That begs the question, “Why not just make sure to move around for 10 minutes an hour each hour and stick with what I know?” That could work, but it requires more discipline and can easily be forgotten when a deadline is approaching.

There's a solution: using a sit / stand desk enables you to work naturally while eliminating the need for constant self-discipline. In other words, the discipline is the standing desk itself.

Sit/Standing Desks Can Increase Creativity and Productivity

Sit / Stand desks get your blood flowing, which increases brain activity and concentration and can there by boost personal productivity. Sit / Stand desks also increase productivity and creativity by encouraging a more mobile, interactive office culture. Employees can brainstorm, collaborate, and exchange ideas while seated or moving about the office, then put plans into action while standing at their own individual workspace.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Of course, standing up for 40 hours a week is not a good idea either. Anyone who's worked in a restaurant or retail job where sitting is either not permitted or not possible knows that standing up all day comes with its own set of problems for the same reason that it's not healthy to sit around all day: our bodies aren't designed to do it. Standing all day forces your body to exhaust itself in an attempt to do something unnatural, usually resulting in lower back problems.

A Sit / Stand or adjustable desk shouldn't be thought of as a physical training device that demands that we stand for eight hours or more per day. It can be better thought of as an opportunity to establish a healthier, more energetic work culture in general.

Proper Desk Height is Essential

Miramar Office Furniture carries a full line of adjustable sit/ stand desks. We're experts in space planning. Call us, send us an email, or fill out our contact form so we can discuss how to incorporate standing workstations into your office.

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  • Ian Daly