We live in an age of comfort and development. Reaching a place in our technological development where most of our needs can be easily covered, we’ve started going for wants. And of course, our primary want is comfort. Why do a couple of extra steps when we can develop something to do those steps for us, right?
Well, we’ve actually managed to get ourselves in a pickle because of that. All the comfort in our lives has actually reached a level where it’s slowly killing us. Several studies have shown how sitting excessively leads to an overall decreased lifespan. So what should we do, just stand up at work? Well, not really, as a more recent study showed that it’s not enough to use a sit-stand desk.
The dangers of sitting
For a long time now, scientists have been warning us about the dangers of sitting down too much. It not only greatly raises the chances of developing serious cardiovascular conditions and even diabetes, but it also directly lowers your lifespan. But since so many of us work office jobs, we don’t really have a choice.
Cue the sit-stand desks, the regular standing desks, or the more modern treadmill or pedaling desks. These were supposedly designed to decrease the time you’re sitting down at work, and perhaps even help you burn some calories. But those might actually all be a bag of lies… or just fancy decorations for your office.
According to Dr. Jos Verbeek of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and his team of researchers, these fancy new desks don’t serve as much more than distractions and flashy stuff to look at while at work. On the contrary, he claims that standing also has its own health detriments, as it can lead to increased risk of hospitalization because of gout and enlarged veins.
A different claim, however, led by a behavioral professor with the University of Iowa named Lucas Carr, suggests that standing might actually have its benefits. He agrees that they are as still largely unknown, but he claims that the calories spent standing up at work for years do actually count for something.
Standing is not enough
But the Finnish study is most likely right. Standing up at work barely burns enough calories to make up for a handful of chips, and the damage you’re doing to your legs might not be worth it. Instead, the doctor suggests redesigning work environments.
For example, situating printers far away from the office areas, perhaps a floor down, might motivate people to take the stairs and move a little. Offering your employees a gym membership or even a few pieces of gym apparatus could actually improve their workers’ well-being and overall health.
Image source: YouTube