Many years ago I heard a piece on the radio that mentioned waitresses and others who stand for work can be at higher risk for heart disease, varicose veins, and atherosclerosis. I was a barista at the time I heard the piece on the radio so I tried not to think about it, head in the sand style.
But today I found this http://www.arpapress.com/Volumes/Vol8Issue1/IJRRAS_8_1_03.pdf while wondering about my aching back and sore ankle and am thinking about it more. This doesn't lead me to believe that sitting on one's butt all day is the best idea either, but it seems unnatural to be chained to any particular posture for an extended period of time. I've spent almost all of my adult working life standing, and now have a standing desk at home, but I'm thinking that I might need change it up a bit, and do more reclining.
*Edit:*It just occurred to me that there are certainly confounding lifestyle variables here, since the majority of standing jobs have historically been lower paid positions. I know standing desks in higher paid office jobs are newish, but has anyone seen data yet on the impact of health with white collar workers other than the "increased activity levels of standing compared to sitting 8-10 hours per day improves fitness" type reports.
Keep in mind that most people nowadays have terrible posture (see Esther Gokhale's work), so standing for them might actually be harmful. (As is sitting, for probably the same reason.)
But even with good posture, the notion that standing all day is better than sitting never made sense to me. I think a balance is most reasonable -- stand for an hour, sit for an hour, etc.
I started standing in December. I think people imagine us standing like a statue all day, but that's not how it work for me. I frequently take sitting breaks, I sit down for lunch, and I constantly shift my weight around, prop one foot up on something for awhile, then the other, etc. I will say that standing in shoes seems problematic for me, as it tends to put too much strain on my heals. Doffing my shoes tends to encourage me to naturally put my weight more on the balls of my feet, and this ultimately reduces or even eliminates discomfort. I think there may be some best practices, and some not-so-good practices with standing desks. For me, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks, at least for now.
good question. I thought about a standing desk for awhile but i've had no back issues since 1) sitting according to the esther gokhale method 2) getting up and walking around once and hour for ten minutes and 3) doing yoga for 15-20 minutes several times a week or 90 minutes once a week to loosen up the hips and shoulders- the two areas that sitting all day are likely to impact.
we're creatures trying to navigate the traps of the modern world. we don't always have to resort have archaic methods to rectify issues when sometimes just smart, common-sense application of knowledge and research will do.
An adjustable standing desk (sit-stand desks) combined with adjustable stool might be best. It might be wise to change position every couple of hours. I'm naturally restless so I tend to do this. You can easily do air squats when sitting from time to time also.
Of course the walking desk might be even better since the posture is probably more self correcting in a walk. For some reason its easier to walk around than to stand still for a long period of time.
I switched to a standing desk at work several months ago and I can't imagine going back. That said, I do sit when I get tired (on a stool) and I walk around as much as possible. I don't think standing in one place is any better for you than sitting is. The reason a standing desk is healthier is because it gives you the option. You can't stand at a sitting desk when you need to.
I’ve worked in many industries, both standing and sitting. I’ve worked in coffee shops, fish plants, the IT industry and now accounting. I have never in my life met so many ill and overweight people as in the accounting industry. For the first 5 years as an accountant I worked sitting down. I gained 20 lbs, and was having chronic back problems, numerous headaches and terrible posture problems (my upper back was starting to curve). Paleo eating helped me loose the weight, but I was still suffering.
Since switching to my standing desk, I have NO back issues anymore, headaches are drastically reduced (I do still stare at a stupid computer all day), hunch is GONE.
I love it.. I recommend everyone try it. If you work in a cubicle like I do, you can raise your desk very easily. I’ve converted two other people at my workplace and have several more working to make the change as well.
Good question. I got the only spider veins I've ever had at age 17 working as a waitress in a truck stop.
Personally, I prefer to recline on my sofa or sit on my exercise ball if I am working on the computer.
On Sunday, I squatted in the back of the room at an hour-long lecture in a local bookstore. I was so much more comfortable than I would have been sitting on one of the metal folding chairs offered & I could change position easily.
I can change my desk height, and I catch myself sitting more often than standing. When standing, I often find myself walking away from the desk, as if some evolutionary compulsion kicks and says, hey, start wandering around! I think Nassim Taleb does some wandering around. Seth Roberts suggests a little walking around too, but he also thinks a lying down might be the way to do computer workhttp://blog.sethroberts.net/2011/09/03/standing-desks-are-on-the-rise/.
I saw a product review once of some glasses that created the appearance of a transparent screen about 10ft in front of the person wearing it. Supposedly you could still walk around, interact, and perhaps even look normal. It likely presents a host of other problems, but I wish that had come to market. At least, I don't think it did. I haven't seen anything like it since.
Here's an argument for sitting while doing computer work from the Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group:
The Perils of Sitting Sitting for more than 1 hour has been shown to induce biochemical changes in lipase activity (an enzyme involved in fat metabolism) and in glucose metabolism that leads to the deposit of fats in adipose tissue rather than these being metabolized by muscle, and extensive sitting also relates to heart disease risks, so people are advocating standing to work because this use more muscle activity (burns about 20% more calories). These changes happen in both fit people who regularly aerobically work out and also unfit and obese people, so regular exercise doesn’t address this.
The Perils of Standing But, standing to work has long known to be problematic, it is more tiring, it dramatically increases the risks of carotid atherosclerosis (ninefold) because of the additional load on the circulatory system, and it also increases the risks of varicose veins, so standing all day is unhealthy. The performance of many fine motor skills also is less good when people stand rather than sit.
The bottom line: Sit to do computer work. Sit using a height-adjustable, downward titling keyboard tray for the best work posture, then every 20 minutes stand for 2 minutes AND MOVE. The absolute time isn’t critical but about every 20-30 minutes take a posture break and move for a couple of minutes. Simply standing is insufficient. Movement is important to get blood circulation through the muscles.
I think its more about fluid motion. Sitting tends to stagnate everything. The design of a chair also rounds out the lumbar curve and places discs and structures in flexion/compression. Doing it for 2-3 hr. here and there though out the day? Probably no problem. 8-10hsr? Big problem.....hows that saying go "the dose makes the poison"? I think its relevant in this instance also. So a standing desk allows more variety of alignment, motion, and different stress points as does dancing. This is all just from a biomechanical perspective of course.
I have had a standing desk for some months now. Because I typically have a couple of meetings a day, I am rarely actually standing for more than a couple of hours before I sit for a while. I feel I swapped from mostly sitting with occasional breaks standing/walking to the other way around.
Can't say I've noticed any great benefits but my knees have old injuries that grumble when they're flexed for a long time, so I prefer to stand for comfort's sake.