Whenever you find yourself grumbling nonsensically every time you are forced to stand on the train and give up your seat for the disabled, pregnant or elderly, STOP. Now…Take a deep breath, smile, and consider yourself “lucky”.
Yes, you are very lucky to have this opportunity to stand.
While standing, you no longer place pressure on your lower back. What is more, you burn an additional 8-10 calories per hour compared to when you are seated. So you do not only do your back a favor but you also maintain your healthy weight—and you do so without even noticing it! Additionally, if you are trying to shed a few pounds, losing more calories by just standing helps.
All these benefits explain why more companies are replacing their conventional workstations with standing desks. To better understand the details surrounding the debate between “standing desk vs. sitting desk”, read on.
Which Increases Calories Burned: Standing Desk vs. Sitting Desk
It’s a given that standing burns more calories than sitting. 8-10 calories may not seem like much. But when totaled, you lose up to 54 more calories a day (assuming that you weigh approximately 140+ lbs. and you do not eat more than you normally do).
Because weight and body mass vary individually, the amount of calories burned on a standing desk vs. sitting desk differs individually. If you want to know how much you burn per activity, consider these three important factors: body mass, the length of time spent on it, and how intensely you are performing your duties.
To calculate, you only have to search online. In seconds, Google will display pages upon pages of calorie calculators. Despite the results’ differing values, you will observe a definite increase. This will range from 20-50 calories per hour—and you get that just from standing more often.
As a rule, the heavier you are, the more calories you burn. So if you are chubby, congratulations! You use up more energy than those who are petite. Undoubtedly, engaging in regular workouts gets rid of excess flab more quickly. But small lifestyle tweakings—like standing instead of sitting while racking your brains out on the grind—also work.
In a nutshell, the calories burned on a standing desk vs. sitting desk depends on a per person and case to case basis. Admittedly, standing may not burn as many calories as trekking up mountains or twirling around poles or kickboxing. But the scientifically proven health benefits it provides explains well enough why standing by your desk is better than sitting behind it.
Pros of Picking a Sitting Desk vs. Standing Desk
Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage, “sitting is the new smoking”? Imagine that! All the years you have spent glued to your seat while struggling to beat deadlines has actually reduced your life expectancy. But how could you have known? You can’t remember a day you weren’t busy, which explains why you were oblivious to this fact. Besides, as beneficial as standing desks are, your sitting desk (particularly the seat) still has cushy merits:
- Concentrating comes readily when you are frozen in your seat.
- The moment your butt comes in contact with the familiar warmth (and groove) of your chair, an overwhelming calm and sense of peace sweeps over you.
- Those drawers are bottomless. They can hold anything and everything you need to survive. Even a snack or two.
- Lastly, if not for your chair, you would not have successfully ballooned your midsection and added several (TOTALLY wanted) inches to your waistline. You owe it that much.
Pros of Picking a Standing Desk vs. Sitting Desk
Have you already come to terms with the fact that for your health’s sake, you have to part ways with your sitting desk? Transitioning to a more advantageous lifestyle is challenging. But it is imperative. To further motivate you, below are three critical reasons validating why you should order a standing desk as soon as possible:
- Long hours of sitting spikes your risks of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer (colon and heart in particular), and early death.
- When you are sitting too long, you get stressed more easily. This explains why you are often cranky at work—apart from wrestling with deadlines that is. It is high time you give your mood and energy levels that much-needed boost.
- Does standing hinder focus? Nope. On the contrary, it recharges you physically and mentally. The mere act of getting up and straightening your back automatically awaken your senses. Researchers said that it also works well in making you more productive and creative.
Cons of Standing at a Desk vs. Sitting
Sitting for hours on end every single day can kill you in the long run. So does standing. As always, moderation is the key. A multitude of scientific researches have opened our eyes to the truth that prolonged sitting, which people tend to do at work, increases a variety of health risks.
Without question, standing can reverse the effects. But if you are doing it wrong, it likewise leaves you vulnerable to the following unhealthy consequences:
- Standing the whole day can lead to back problems. If your job requires you to be literally on your feet for the most part of the shift (e.g. sales people, restaurant workers, etc.), it puts more pressure on your spine.
- Because your legs take the beating, they are more prone to varicose veins. Also, your risk for cardiovascular diseases and vein thrombosis goes up. Blame it on gravity. It prompts your heart to work harder, so it can pump blood to the other organs in your body.
- Focus becomes elusive. For professionals requiring total concentration, staying upright can prove troublesome. Science has no concrete explanations as of yet, but people have come to realize that there are tasks that could only be done well when seated. Usually, these tasks include writing, conceptualizing, accounting, and reviewing/studying complex data.
Cons of Sitting vs. a Standing Desk
By itself, there is nothing wrong if you slump in your seat from time to time. You also burn calories even if you are sitting. But overdoing it and not varying your position (i.e. alternating between sitting and standing) increases your health risks. Here are some facts to better illustrate how a sedentary lifestyle can hurt you:
- The Center for Disease Control has confirmed that heart disease, specifically congestive heart failure, is the leading cause of death in the US. Experts have identified several causes, one of them being prolonged sitting.
- Have you noticed how your belly has ballooned over the years? If you have spent most of your career behind a desk, this is nothing short of ordinary. Research findings have linked and confirmed sitting to obesity. Accordingly, prolonged sitting slows down your body’s fat burning capacity by making the lipoprotein lipase (LPL) less active.
- Aside from making you prone to gaining weight faster, sitting also negatively affects your bones. It reduces mineral density without contributing to formation, ultimately weakening your bone density.
How to Pick Between a Standing Desk Versus Sitting Desk
When it comes to choosing the right desk, you need to consider several important factors. This applies regardless of the type you prefer. Although standing desks are more advantageous, you still need to ask yourself the following questions before ordering a unit:
- What type of desk suits your work best?
All the hype about how awesome standing desks are will make you think that it is the best choice. While you won’t hear us protest this, you still need to evaluate your choices carefully. So, how do you get the best value for your hard-earned money? First up, know how much you need to focus on your work. There are tasks that require absolute concentration, which could only be maintained while sitting down. Next, know your specific work style. There are people who perform better when they are not seated. They can work regardless of distractions. Others, however, require absolute isolation and space.
- How much space can you allot?
Before ordering, measure the size of the allotted space. Desks come in varying heights and sizes to conform to spatial necessities. To avoid unnecessary shipment expenses arising from oversized or undersized units, get the specific dimensions first. Use standard measuring devices like a tape measure. If you are not confident in handling such tools, ask someone for assistance.
- Do you need drawers/additional panels for storage?
While working, you should have quick access to your tools and accessories. It goes without saying that you will benefit from getting a desk that is spacious with many storage options. Before ordering, check out the models available. If you cannot find the right one for your needs, feel free to get in touch with the sales personnel.
- How comfortable do you want it to be?
Aside from height, dimensions, and storage space, you should also consider comfort. Remember: You will be spending most of the day working behind your desk. Discomfort can compromise your creativity and productivity.
- What type of material do you prefer?
The material used in building a desk is also crucial. Not only does it figure in the overall look of your workstation. But it also impacts its durability and longevity. Desks that are made of solid wood last a long time. Metal units, on the other hand, have a modern look and feel. Take your pick.
- Will you be moving the desk often?
It is important to note how often you or your office administration will be rearranging the interior. If office redecorating is a regular ritual, look for models that are durable but made of lightweight materials, which you can move around without a hassle.
Why Not Have Both: The Takeaway for the Sitting vs. Standing Desk Debate
After spending several years toiling behind your sitting desk, ditching it does not come easy. Do not be ashamed: getting sentimental about losing something you have grown to love is expected. From one deadline to another, through thick and thin, your trusty desk and chair have stuck by you.
Actually, the main issue is not the seat itself, but your lack (or absence) of moderation. It is not the desk itself that is killing you, but the act of sitting for hours on end. With a sitting desk, the temptation to stay rooted in your seat is too much. A standing desk, on the other hand, allows you to sit and stand comfortably. It makes alternating between these two actions a whole lot easier.
Of course, no one will stop you if you choose to stand when using a sitting desk. But its ergonomic design does not conform to your body’s needs. With a standing desk, however, you only need to use a specially designed tall chair any time you like. You do so without compromising your health or comfort. And because there are adjustable models available, you can increase or decrease the desk’s height with just a push of a button (or by turning the crank handle for non-electric units).