Why Do Physiotherapists Recommend Using a Standing Desk?

Recent research found that eighty per cent of the population now have a desk-based job, with sixty per cent of these people spending time in a prolonged position (according to physiolounge). With more of us joining the digital revolution and opting to work using our laptops, phones and other technological devices, whilst this has given us greater freedom, for some, this has also incurred some additional health costs. 

We decided to undertake some thorough research to investigate the impact which sitting is having on our bodies. With some physiotherapists such as Brad Beer claiming, ‘Simply put and in my professional and personal opinion our bodies were not designed to sit for eight hours a day at a desk’, the need to change our daily habits and stay active is more important than ever before as we continue to adapt to working from home! 

Along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet, there are also ways that you can boost your productivity at work and optimise your energy levels. From improved posture to the prevention of neck and back pain, standing desks are undoubtedly becoming an essential part of the workspace. Although we’re confident that our Harmoni desk has plenty of health benefits, we’ve spoken to the experts and gathered the top four reasons why physiotherapists recommend using a standing desk.

 

1. Improves posture in the workplace

Opting to use a standing desk can help to improve posture caused by hunching over a computer screen. Often when we sit, our hip flexors can become tight, our core is disengaged, and our backs and shoulders overextend, causing back and neck pain. According to physios, the classic posture of someone who is desk-bound is the anterior pelvic tilt where you slope forward and put excess pressure on your spine. 

Physiotherapists do however suggest some tips to improve standing. These include trying different routines to find what is right for you, standing on an anti-fatigue mat and wearing comfortable shoes. They also suggest taking regular breaks and taking time away from your computer screen by stretching. They also suggest that if you opt to use a standing desk, ease yourself into it, and if you have any postural problems then regularly change your position and find ways to integrate movement into your day. 


2. Increases productivity

Physiotherapists have recommended using standing desks as they are proven to improve your productivity throughout the day. By keeping you active at work, the standing desks vary your posture and combat the health risks which are associated with sitting too much. 

 

Recommended by the London Spine Clinic, sit-stand desks have been scientifically proven to improve your productivity, concentration and increase your creativity. This is due to the fact that by standing, this helps to increase the blood flow around the body and most importantly, to the brain. Research has even found that sit-stands desks can increase the user’s productivity between ten to twenty per cent!

 

3. Reduces risk of cancer

Another reason why physiotherapists recommend using a standing desk is due to the research which suggests that by opting to stand, this can help to reduce the risk of cancer. A study found that prolonged sitting could be a contributing factor for as many as forty-nine thousand cases of breast cancer and forty-three thousand cases of colon cancer annually in America. 

The same research also found that significant amounts of lung cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer could also be related to excessive sitting. 

 

4. Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease

Using a standing desk has also been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A 2009 study by Medibank Private showed that we spend seventy percent of our time at work sitting. Furthermore, around seventy per cent of the entire work day (before, during and after work) is spent sedentary, with exercise equating to less than five percent of our day. These shocking statistics highlight not only the amount of time we spend sitting, but also reveal the increased risk of health problems related to cardiovascular disease

Adults who spend two more hours per day sitting have a one-hundred and twenty-five per cent increased risk of health problems including chest pain and heart attacks than those who sit less than two hours per day (according to sportsandspinalphysio).

Moreover, the study found that men who spend more than five hours per day sitting outside of work were at twice the risk of heart failure than those who sit for fewer than two hours daily outside of the office, regardless of exercise!

 

Conclusion

Along with using a standing desk, physiotherapists are encouraging people to increase their postural strength via a course of clinical pilates or exercise conditioning. Additionally, taking regular breaks throughout the day can help you to stay active and more focused at work. 

What’s more, taking a break to refill your water bottle is a great way to drink more water and get more steps in for the day by walking. Take small steps to improve your health by stretching regularly and drinking plenty of water.  Try also checking out our article on the best daily stretches to do at work. By making some small changes to your daily schedules, this will have a larger impact over time and increase your productivity and energy levels in the workplace!

 

Have you enjoyed reading this article? Let us know by sending us a message on Instagram- @harmoni.desk ! We’d love to hear from you.

 

Sources

‘Should You Get a Standing Desk’ by David Wynne <https://www.westlondonphysio.co.uk/news-articles/should-you-get-a-standing-desk>

‘5 Compelling Reasons for Using a Sit-Stand Desk’ by Nick Dewey <https://sportandspinalphysio.com.au/5-compelling-reasons-for-using-a-sit-stand-desk/>

‘Physical activity and breast cancer: review of the epidemiologic evidence and biologic mechanisms’ by Christine M Friedenreich <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21253795/>

‘The truth behind standing desks’ by Robert H. Shmerling, <https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-truth-behind-standing-desks-2016092310264>

‘Standing Up Desks, A Physio’s Verdict’ by Brad Beer <https://www.pogophysio.com.au/blog/stand-up-desk-verdict/>

<https://uk.harmonidesk.com/blogs/news/essential-benefits-standing-desk>

‘Standing Desks: Is sitting the new smoking? A Physio’s View’ <https://www.physiobodyandsole.com.au/standing-desks-is-sitting-the-new-smoking-a-physios-view/>

 <https://physiolounge.co.uk/the-sedentary-epidemic-standing-up-for-the-desk-warrior/>

 ‘Benefits of Sit Stand Desks on Your Posture and Work Health &Wellbeing’ <https://www.posturegroup.co.uk/blog/benefits-of-sit-stand-desks-on-your-posture-and-work-health-and-wellbeing>

 ‘Use a standing desk to treat back, neck and shoulder pain’ <https://www.posturegroup.co.uk/blog/benefits-of-sit-stand-desks-on-your-posture-and-work-health-and-wellbeing>