The Benefits of a Standing Desk (and Other Health Tips for an Office Job)
We’re always trying new things in the office to help us do our jobs better or create an all-around better work environment to come up with new ideas, creative solutions, and the energy to make all that magic happen. A few of us have even gotten the chance to incorporate a “standing desk” into our workspaces.
First of all, what is a standing desk? Also called a standup desk, a standing desk is—quite literally—a desk that allows you to stand while you’re working instead of requiring that you sit down. Some standing desks are static to one position/height and some are made to be adjustable, which lets you switch between sitting and standing throughout your workday.
For all varieties of standing desks, however, research is in the early stages. The study results that are available indicate that using a standing desk can have positive effects on your health and motivation, including but not limited to:
- Lowering risk of weight gain
- Lowering blood sugar levels
- Lowering risk of heart disease
- Reducing back pain
- Boosting productivity
At the very least, a standing desk will keep you from sitting all day, which has been proven to have harmful effects on your wellbeing. Even if you’re not able to get your hands on a standing desk, there are plenty of other ways to stay healthy and even fit when you’re working in an office 8-10+ hours a day 4-5 days a week. Here are just a few tips to get you started:
1. Walk as Much as Possible
Walking has so many benefits, I don’t have the word count to list them all—so I’m going to link you to an actual list of those benefits and use my characters to give you work-oriented ideas on how to get moving instead.
Take a quick walk during your lunch break. If you drive to work, park further out to give yourself more of the lot to traverse. Take the stairs rather than the elevator if you have the option. Or if you work in a high rise, take the elevator a few flights and switch to the stairs for the rest.
TL;DR Just find reasons to walk more throughout the day—even getting up and walking to a coworker’s office for some face-to-face conversation instead of just sending a Slack message will increase your step count and keep you moving throughout the day.
2. Cut Down on the Coffee
Was that an audible gasp or is there a window open somewhere? Trust me, I know cutting down on coffee in an office setting is basically sacrilege—Reusser Design is especially passionate about those fresh pots.
The great side of coffee is that it perks us up in the wee hours of the morning and gives us an excuse to walk away from our desks for a few minutes at a time throughout the day for a refill. And walking is something we want to do more of, remember? Unfortunately, coffee also causes muscle tension, anxiety, and irritability.
My recommendation is definitely not to nix your coffee intake—there are both pros and cons to drinking coffee, and also doing so may put your sanity (and the lives of your coworkers) in jeopardy. Instead, just try to circumvent the effects caffeine has on you. Try switching to decaf after your first cup (nope, that time it was definitely a gasp). Maybe give green tea a shot, which also has some bonus benefits for slimming down if that’s your goal here. There are also natural energy boosters you can try if you feel like kicking coffee isn’t complete madness.
3. Don’t Skip Breakfast
All kinds of studies have been done on the benefits of eating breakfast—and just about every time, breakfast comes out on top. Across a number of studies, eating something for breakfast has been found to improve memory, reduce obesity (since it discourages that midmorning snack attack), lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes in women, boosts energy, improves your overall mood, and kickstarts your metabolism to start burning those calories.
There was also a huge 16-year study done that involved almost 30,000 American men which showed that those who skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of CHD (Congenital Heart Defects) than men who take the time to eat breakfast in the morning.
4. Drink Lots of Water
Here’s something to think about—you should really never feel thirsty. Unless you’re taking medication that triggers that thirst mechanism in your body, you only hit that point of genuinely feeling thirsty if you’re already dehydrated. When that happens, you need to take the hint and get something to drink—be it water, juice, milk, that fourth cup of pre-noon coffee. At that point, anything that hydrates you will do.
So what’s the big deal about drinking water then if the main goal is just to keep hydrated? Other than it making up 60% of your body’s composition and really just needing it to survive (no big deal, right?), water keeps fluids regulated, controls calories (drinking water theoretically keeps you from drinking a soda, for example), helps energize muscles, keeps your skin clear, flushes out your kidneys, and the list goes on from there.
5. Exercise at Your Desk
This sounds ridiculous because it is a little ridiculous, but luckily there are ways to accomplish some exercise during your workday—and stealthily enough that your coworkers don’t know to mock you for it.
Don’t let those New Year’s resolutions fizzle out. Start small and improve your health while you work—with or without a standing desk!