You may want to stand as you read this: the United States has become a desk-bound country. A recent American Heart Association report found that the average American adult spends six to eight hours a day sitting. The report also found that excess sedentary behavior is linked to an increased risk to a litany of illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, as well as death, “regardless of how much physical activity someone gets.” Unfortunately, sitting for extended periods of time is even more dangerous than we previously thought.
The Mayo Clinic cites a study that compared adults who spent fewer than two hours a day sitting in front of a screen to those who were in front of a screen for more than four hours. The results were pretty shocking: participants with more screen time had “almost a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain and heart attacks,” and “a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death.” Increasingly, experts are saying that the key to better health is not to spend more time at the gym; it is to spend less time in your office chair.
But reasons to stand more often in the office go beyond the physical benefits; it can improve mental health as well. The National Institute of Mental Health found that up to 18 percent of U.S. adults are affected by some sort of anxiety disorder, which is often linked with symptoms of depression. About 22 percent of these cases could be classified as “severe.” According to the Mayo Clinic, aerobic exercise can limit symptoms of depression and anxiety by releasing positive brain chemicals that can ease depression and reduce immune system chemicals that can worsen it.
This physical activity doesn’t have to be something intense like running or swimming to see improvements; simply standing instead of sitting down works just as well. A National Center for Biotechnology Information study compared a group of office workers who regularly used a sit-to-standing desk with a group that did not. Those with the standing desk reported “reduced time spent sitting by 224 percent (66 minutes per day), reduced upper back and neck pain by 54 percent and improved mood states.” Regular physical activity has been known to have positive emotional effects as well, such as increased confidence and more chances for social interaction.
The office setting may not be going anywhere, but we can improve it by offering workers the ability to use standing and sit-to-standing desks. The positive results brought on by increased physical activity do more than just help individual workers — they can improve an office’s efficiency, output and overall working environment. Workers who utilize standing desks have reported increased productivity and better overall concentration, more opportunities to interact and collaborate with coworkers and have taken fewer sick days.
The benefits of partnering with a company like VARIDESK and utilizing standing desks during the day can be found in more than just increased physical health and a decreased risk of illness. Reducing the amount of time spent sitting can lead to better mental health and increased productivity as well, making for a happier, healthier and more efficient workplace. A simple dedication to sit less often can lead to more productivity and better overall mental and physical well-being. It’s a cause worth standing up for.
Learn more about this important issue and see options for trying out a VARIDESK standing desk solution for yourself or your office here.
This content is made possible by our sponsor. The editorial staff of Government Executive was not involved in its preparation.