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Standing Desks Vs Sit-stand Desks: Is There A Difference

Apr 02, 2021


What Is Standing Desk


You’ve probably seen a co-worker catch up on emails at the office’s treadmill desk, while another knocks out reports at their standing desk. But did you know they’re lowering their risk for heart disease, obesity, and back and neck pain, too?

Studies have linked sitting a lot to these and other health problems. Even people who exercise most days face health risks if they sit too much. Standing desks raise your computer high enough for you to work and stand at the same time. This keeps you on your feet for more of the day.

All standing desks follow the same basic idea -- they let you work while you stand.


By now, we’ve all heard the warnings about the dangers of sitting too much. But is standing while working really the best way for employees to build more movement into their days? And if so, are fixed standing desks the answer or are sit-stand desks the best way to go?


Before you go all-in on one or the other, there are a few things to consider.


Why Standing Desks Are Here to Stay

There’s little doubt; most modern office workers sit too much. On average, Canadians sit about 10 hours every day – mostly at work. And our penchant for sitting is taking a toll on our health, our moods and our waistlines. While everyone seems to agree on that, there are differing views on how much standing we should do to counter the downside of desk work.


Standing desks are one of the most popular trends in office ergonomics, and their popularity shows no sign of letting up. A 2017 survey of HR professionals indicated that providing standing desks to employees was the fastest-growing wellness benefits trend. As well, the global standing desk market is expected to hit  US $2.8 billion by 2025.


There are two main categories of standing desks: fixed-height standing desks that allow an employee to stand while working and sit-stand desks that can be adjusted to either sitting or standing height. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of standing desks vs sit-stand desks.


How Standing Desks Help at Work

Research shows standing can make us more focused and productive by increasing engagement on tasks and improving working memory. This makes standing desks a good fit for tasks that require short bursts of energy like responding to emails or talking on the phone. They also provide convenient hubs for team collaboration.


There are a few reasons you may want to consider a fixed-height standing desk. Firstly, fixed-height standing desks tend to be cheaper than sit-stand desks with a wide variety of inexpensive options from which to choose.  Secondly, fixed-height desks have fewer moving parts and are therefore often easier to install. The simplified design also provides excellent stability and makes it easier to manage cords and cables.


Standing desks are the right choice if you want to create a workstation that incorporates exercise equipment like a treadmill or stationary bike with a desk. For workers using fixed-height standing desks, it’s vital for them to take breaks and ensure their desks are appropriately configured with the top of the computer screen at eye level.


Too Much of a Good Thing

The biggest argument against fixed standing desks is that they take an all-or-nothing approach to standing. While studies have shown that standing at work has significant health benefits, helping you lose weight and reducing the risks of strokes and heart attacks, other research has shown that too much standing may be almost as bad as sitting for hours at a time.


Prolonged standing puts stress on your knee and hip joints and can cause you to slouch, which is terrible for your posture.


And the reality is: sitting is not all bad. Not only does it take the load off your legs; it may also help you think better. Many people prefer to sit while working on projects that require a lot of creative thinking, complex problem solving or the use of fine motor skills.  They key is not to sit or stand too long, and that’s where sit-stand desks come in.


Sit-Stand Desks Offer the Best of Both Worlds

The primary benefit sit-stand desks offer is that they can be easily adjusted from sitting height to standing height to accommodate different tasks or to add a variety of movement to a worker’s day.


This flexibility gives users a chance to change things up and sit or stand when their bodies tell them. Current research suggests a 3:1 ratio between standing and sitting. So, for every 45 minutes, workers spend standing, they should sit down for 15. The key is to keep the body moving from one position to another at least once an hour throughout the day.


Along with the health benefits of sit-stand desks, there are also productivity benefits to giving employees a choice. A 2016 study showed call center employees who were given sit-stand desks were 46 percent more productive than their colleagues who sat all day.


So, if you’re looking for flexibility and maximum health benefits, sit-stand desks are the best choice. If workers alternated between sitting and standing once every hour, that’s enough movement to keep them from experiencing many of problems that are taking a toll on their health and productivity.



Standing Vs Sitting At a Desk – Which is Better for You?


Health experts have debated the benefits of standing versus sitting for years. For a while, they thought standing could solve the health problems of all sedentary office workers. But we’ve since learned that throwing away the chair and standing all day isn’t the answer. Sitting and standing for long periods have their pros and cons so which one should you choose? 


So, if this leaves you are wondering if you should stand or sit at work, you aren’t alone. Workers worldwide have considered if a standing desk will deliver the health benefits they’ve heard about. 



Do You Burn More Calories Standing Than Sitting?

Yes, you will burn more calories by standing, but it’s not as many as you might think. An adult will burn an extra 0.15 calories per minute by standing rather than sitting. So, if a 70 kg person stands for six hours a day, they will burn an extra 54 calories than if they sat. 

 


Is Sitting or Standing Worse For Your Back?

Sitting puts more pressure on your lower back than standing. A small study in 2018 found that people who started using a sit stand desk and counselling to improve their sedentary behaviour experienced a 50% decrease in low back pain. 

 


Standing Desks Vs Sitting

Using a standing desk will stop you from prolonged sitting. The main medical benefit of a standing desk is that it lets you switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. 

You may also be more likely to move around more if you are already standing. Rather than using the phone to contact a colleague, you might walk to their desk. 

If you’re using a standing desk for the first time, don’t stand all day. Give your body time to get used to standing by starting with 30 minutes of standing a few times per day. You can then work up to one hour then two-hour blocks of standing. An anti fatigue mat makes standing more comfortable. We recommend one that lets you position your legs and feet at different angles to encourage natural, constant movement.

Make sure you invest in a standing desk that’s easy and quiet to move up and down otherwise you might not change the desk’s position as often as you should.  



Standing is Different to Moving

The opposite to prolonged sitting isn’t standing, it’s moving. Humans are designed to be on the move all the time. Spending several hours in the same position, whether seated or standing, isn’t ideal. The greatest health benefits come from moving throughout the day. As we walk, blood and oxygen circulate more easily throughout our body. Regular exercise can also lower your systolic blood pressure.       


So if you are still debating the pros and cons of standing vs sitting at work, your best chance of a healthy lifestyle is to mix it up. Alternate between standing and sitting and move throughout the day. Take a look at our 7 tips on staying active at work.   


If you’re looking for a sit stand desk, that lets you easily change its height during the day, visit our showroom