Standing Desk or Sitting Desk

Standing desk Standing desks vs traditional sitting desk: is one better than the other? In the past few years, standing desks have become the rage and many benefits have been proclaimed.

Standing desks can allow you to have a “desk job,” but instead of sitting in a chair all day, you can stand and move more freely. These styles of desks come in those that are built for only standing or you can purchase adjustable desks that are placed on top of a regular desk.

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, and an expert who deals with spinal mechanics on a daily basis, I believe a standing desk can be very beneficial. It has been shown that standing produces less pressure on the discs in the low back and causes us to engage the core muscles more effectively.

Another interesting idea is that standing takes more energy, therefore we burn more calories. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health explored this idea. For this study, they placed masks on 74 healthy people. The purpose of the mask was to measure oxygen consumption which was a reflection of how many calories they burned. This was measured while doing computer work, watching TV, walking on a treadmill and standing. Their results found:

  • 1. Sitting burned 80 calories/hour – similar to typing or watching TV
  • 2. Standing burned about 88 calories/hour, only slightly more than while sitting
  • 3. Walking burned 210 calories/hour

So, using a standing desk burns about 24 extra calories in 3 hours. So, standing at your desk may not be a major source of weight loss, but there may be other benefits.

Standing desk potential benefits

Those that advocate standing desks point to studies measuring blood sugar levels that return to normal faster with those who spend more time standing.

There are other assumed benefits of using a standing desk. These are based on the findings that sitting for long hours are linked to a higher risked of such conditions as:

  • * obesity
  • * diabetes
  • * cardiovascular disease
  • * cancer (especially cancers of the colon or breast)
  • * premature death.

If you decide on a standing desk….

Deciding on a standing desk should be a planned progressive move. Immediately changing from standing to sitting can be like any other major physical lifestyle change: it can have some uncomfortable side effects. Going from sitting all day to suddenly standing can be a sudden “shock” to your muscles and result in some discomfort, just as if you started exercising.

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I often get asked about standing desks. What I personally recommend are the desk top units that allow going between sitting and standing. I encourage my patients to NOT stay in either position all day, but to spend an hour or two in one position, then transition to the other for the same amount of time. Alternating back and forth, results in a little more movement and I believe helps prevent the fatigue of the muscles.

Warnings About Standing Desks

While it seems using a standing desk can provide benefits, there are some warnings that should probably require an opinion by a licensed healthcare provider, such as a Doctor of Chiropractic. The following conditions might not be suited for a standing desk:

  • * Moderate to severe knee or ankle conditions
  • * Hip degeneration
  • * Some pack problems such as sacroiliac degeneration
  • * Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • * And potentially others.

If you are concerned if a standing desk could be wrong for you, call our office at (314) 731-4383 to schedule and examination to determine the integrity of your musculoskeletal system.

As always, this information has been provided as a public service and not to be considered healthcare recommendations.