You’re a Stand Up Person: You Deserve a Stand Up Desk

By CLAY SPRINGMEYER

So, you’ve made it to work. You’re two cups of coffee deep, the neurons are starting to fire, and you brought your headphones to work today, you rebel. You’re ready to saddle up and ride your desk chair into the sunset in a gallop of productivity. Then you sit.

When you sit in a chair, sometimes it might be hard to concentrate when you’re literally facing a potential onslaught of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. A survey of thousands of Australian men showed higher rates of all of the above when they spent more than four hours in a chair every day. Studies have also shown that people who sit more throughout the day are at much greater risk for kidney disease, obesity, mental health issues, and an overall shorter life expectancy.

According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, you can find some of the grimmest statistics yet. If you sit for more than 11 hours in a day, you are 40% more likely to die in three years. When you’re hunched over a computer or desk for half your day, science has literally shown you are more likely to be depressed, diseased, and at risk of death. Feel like standing up all of a sudden?

Stand-up desksDo it. Jump around. Exercise. You can reduce your health risks by exercising every day, but even regular exercise and eating right isn’t enough to abolish the detrimental health effects of prolonged butt-resting. If your job requires you to chill in a cubicle, it might be time to start thinking about a stand up desk. To find out some of the benefits, I interviewed self proclaimed stand up desk enthusiast Angie Everett, Office Manager for Northern Rockies Physical Therapy in Missoula,MT.

I noticed right away when I called Angie that she sounded happy and energetic despite calling her mid afternoon. Intrigued, I had to investigate.

“Angie, what can you tell me about stand up desks?” I asked her.

“I just love them. I tell everybody about it. Mine is motorized so I can adjust it with the touch of a button,” said Angie.

Are we living in a science fiction novel? I had no idea we had this sort of technology at our disposal. What’s next, stand up desks on Mars? According to Angie, and her colleagues at Northern Rockies Physical Therapy, stand up desks help you get into a better position if you suffer from lower back pain.

Stand up desk 6“I don’t have back pain or neck strain by the end of the day because I’m in a much better position. At the end of the day I used to be groggy and tired, reaching for coffee, but I don’t feel that at all. When I get home I feel that I have more energy,” Angie told me. As she was speaking, I became acutely aware of the wooden chair I was sitting in at a coffee shop in downtown Helena, Montana. I could feel my old back injury from a bicycle accident winking at me like a nasty goblin, so I stood up for the rest of ourinterview.

I asked her if any of the physical therapists at NRPT had other suggestions to pair up with a stand up desk. According to Angie, “we have two physical therapists that have advanced training in backs, and at their suggestion I stand on a rubber mat while I’m standing. I also have a four inch stool that I shift my weight on. When I do feel like sitting, I use an exercise ball.”

Angie is a devout believer in the benefits after less than a year of use. Angie, whether you knew it or not you are simultaneously increasing your life expectancy, decreasing your risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as improving your odds for good overall mental health. You go, girl.

I asked if she had any last thoughts on the subject, and after a brief moment to reflect she told me: “When you sit all day, you feel like a ball of dough. I’m encouraging all my friends to invest in stand up desks.” At around $1100 for a motorized stand up desk, it is an investment. But can you really put a price tag on a longer life?

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Clay SpringmeyerClay Springmeyer is a Montana grown writer, musician, and Wilderness First Aid Instructor in Portland, OR. He studied Creative Writing and Wilderness Studies at the University ofMontana.