Ergonomic Chair vs. Standing Desk
Whether you’re glued to your desk for work or a personal project, you’re most likely going to find yourself choosing to sit in an ergonomic chair. Sitting in a chair feels more comfortable, and natural, on our bodies. You can relax your knee joints, and many office chairs offer back support that maintains comfort for more extended periods of time. While it may feel better to sit while working, using a sit stand desk allows for more productivity.
I find myself meeting more people who enjoy working from a standing desk nowadays. Its benefits range from productivity, exercise, and a change of scenery. In terms of productivity, different research programs have found that standing improves mental stamina. Sitting down induces a sense of calmness in us. We’re more often to scroll on social media and swipe on dating apps when we’re relaxed and sitting down. So even when we sit down to work on projects and assignments, all of a sudden we can find ourselves checking our email sporadically and checking our favorite apps because we are in a state of relaxation, and our brains do not want to focus on work. Sitting down is a break from physical exertion, but if you’ve been sitting at a desk for 6+ hours, what are you taking a break from? Absolutely nothing.
The 2018 study “Stand Up to Work,” found significant data in providing beneficial information on the positives of working from a standing desk. The study lasted a full year and Elizabeth Garland, one of the study’s authors, noted that 47% of the people with an adjustable workstation said that there was a reduction in shoulder and neck issues. When we think about our physical health, standing at a desk certainly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, Garland’s study shows that almost half the participants felt a difference when using a standing desk. The study also reported that 65% of people felt more productivity, over half the participants found their mental stamina increased when using a standing desk. So, what is it about standing at a desk that improves our mental fortitude? For one, standing, in opposition to sitting, keeps our brains alert and awake! When we sit on the couch to watch our favorite shows and movies, oftentimes we fall asleep or scroll through our phones for extra stimulation. There’s no need for extra stimulation when we’re standing; our brains are already focused on muscle and joint health.
Aside from neck or back pain, using a standing desk can also be valuable to your mental health. Since sitting down can result in less mental stimulation, standing gives the opposite effect! Garland’s study noted that 65% reported a positive effect outside the workplace, showing that over half the participants felt an increase in their mental health. Having a gratifying work and home life balance is a must for the everyday worker. Using a standing desk could certainly lead to a positive mindset when entering the workplace. Having the option of mobility during the work hours is a great way to keep yourself focused. By having the option to decide if you want to sit or stand while working psychologically keeps your brain more focused. Having options allows us to feel in control. Perhaps an adjustable standing desk could be the future for all work modes.
Earlier, exercise was mentioned. There’s no doubt that our bodies will burn more calories while we stand than when we sit. But what exactly is the difference? The numbers don’t vary as much as we’d like them to, being that sitting burns around 80 calories an hour and standing burns about 90 calories an hour. However, for remote workers, getting a small, flat treadmill provides a way to walk while working. Growing up, my mother used to watch TV and walk on the treadmill and I myself enjoy reading on my Kindle while walking on the treadmill. Why not extend that exercise into working? Many of us hardly have the time or energy to work out after long hours of working. Using a treadmill while at a standing desk could provide health benefits instead of just sitting at a desk.
Changing from your typical ergonomic chair to a standing desk has numerous benefits. Think of the change of scenery! Instead of only seeing your computer or laptop screen right in front of you, your peripherals will be opened up to the room. See your workstation in a new light! If you’re able-bodied and willing to make the change, your body and mind will thank you.