Are standing desks just the next fad?

A discussion on the merits of standing desks

Stand up desks are some­what of a pop­u­lar fea­ture in the offices of some com­pa­nies and schools who are pro­gres­sive at sup­port­ing their staff to be health­i­er, hap­pi­er and more productive

There are claims that stand­ing instead of sit­ting all day can have a pos­i­tive influ­ence on life expectan­cy, although the evi­dence is con­flict­ing. Anec­do­tal­ly, back pain, neck pain, hip pain and shoul­der pain have sig­nif­i­cant­ly improved with stand up/​adjustable height desks There is quite a lot of evi­dence to sup­port this claim with jour­nals based on pos­ture and report­ed pain in chil­dren at school and in adults. 

What is cat­e­gor­i­cal in the research is the ener­gy expen­di­ture dur­ing a day when com­par­ing stand­ing to sit­ting and many are tak­ing to stand up desks with the hope of help­ing them to be more active, lose weight or tone up their hips and legs.

There are how­ev­er some reports of peo­ple tri­alling stand up desks who ini­tial­ly notice these pos­i­tive changes fol­lowed by can­kles’. A phe­nom­e­non which describes a calf-like appear­ance of ankles caused by swelling. Have they got hid­den vas­cu­lar dis­ease? Are they just stand­ing in one posi­tion all day with­out mov­ing around?

Are stand­ing desks just anoth­er fad par­a­digm that get rid of one prob­lem and then cause others?

Are stand­ing desks just anoth­er fad par­a­digm that get rid of one prob­lem and then cause others?

What is cat­e­gor­i­cal in the research is the ener­gy expen­di­ture dur­ing a day when com­par­ing stand­ing to sit­ting and many are tak­ing to stand up desks with the hope of help­ing them to be more active, lose weight or tone up their hips and legs.

There are how­ev­er some reports of peo­ple tri­alling stand up desks who ini­tial­ly notice these pos­i­tive changes fol­lowed by can­kles’. A phe­nom­e­non which describes a calf-like appear­ance of ankles caused by swelling. Have they got hid­den vas­cu­lar dis­ease? Are they just stand­ing in one posi­tion all day with­out mov­ing around?

Are stand­ing desks just anoth­er fad par­a­digm that get rid of one prob­lem and then cause others?

The ini­tial ratio­nale behind stand­ing desks revolved around the notion that humans are not designed to just sit on a chair for 8 hours a day.

What hap­pened to the abil­i­ty to sit cross-legged?

In many indige­nous cul­tures and third world coun­tries peo­ple can be seen adopt­ing a squat posi­tion for long peri­ods of time to per­form tasks such as cook­ing or work­ing out­side since desks and work sur­faces are not used.

This posi­tion is not too dis­sim­i­lar to the squat pose seen with many tod­dlers and chil­dren who bend to look and play or pick an object from the floor. We often con­sid­er this pose the per­fect squat posi­tion and chil­dren lose the abil­i­ty to do this when they are sent to school and start spend­ing so much time sit­ting on chairs as well as sit­ting on a sofa or chair to relax­ing on sofas.

To elab­o­rate and expand this train of thought… What hap­pened to the abil­i­ty to sit cross-legged?

I used to do this as a child, yet when I trav­elled to the jun­gle of South East Asia, I found this pose crip­pling. I vis­it­ed and lived with indige­nous fam­i­lies with­in the Bor­neo rain­for­est dur­ing my time there. There were no tables or chairs and it was bad man­ners to sit with the soles of your feet show­ing. Cross legged sit­ting was a must! At the time when I thought that I was in good con­di­tion, I soon found that squat­ting for peri­ods of time or sit­ting cross legged on the floor to eat and socialise gave me an oppor­tu­ni­ty to exam­ine my con­scious­ness as far as my per­cep­tion of phys­i­cal health was con­cerned. After a very uncom­fort­able few weeks had passed, I felt more mobile and free of move­ment than I had remem­bered in my adult years.

So maybe we should embrace a change from the cul­ture of sit­ting for 8 hours at school or work. Give stand up desks a go, or try adjustable height desks that allow easy tran­si­tion through­out a day between chair sit­ting, stand­ing or maybe even cross-legged sit­ting. And maybe a grad­ual tran­si­tion from our eight-hour a day sit­ting cul­ture. No one wants cankles!