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Standing Desks: Helpful or Overhyped?

August 13, 2018
If you work in an office, chances are you've noticed the latest trend that's taken the workplace by storm — treadmills and standing desks. In many ways, standing while you work makes sense. Recent studies show that sitting for long periods of time can cause a host of health problems like a higher risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even premature death. In light of this, people have turned to standing and treadmill desks to counteract all the sitting typically done in the office.

Are there any real health benefits to standing at your desk rather than sitting? And is walking on a treadmill better than standing still? The short answer is — it depends. Studies on the benefits of these desks are mixed, but there are some things you should keep in mind if you're considering investing in one of these desks.
Do They Increase Productivity?

While treadmill desks get the blood flowing and are good exercise, researchers at Brigham Young University found that productivity and concentration drops if you're trying to walk and type at the same time. However, a separate study shows that call center employees were more productive when they did their work at a standing desk. Some researchers believe that the type of tasks you're doing might make a difference in productivity. For example, talking on the phone or reading is easily done while standing, but employees who regularly type might be more productive while sitting.

Are There Health Drawbacks?

Studies show that treadmill desks offer the increased benefit of additional exercise and movement, however standing all day does have some drawbacks. Standing for long periods of time could lead to back, leg or foot pain – so think about breaking in your new treadmill desk gradually. Plus, if your treadmill or standing desk isn't positioned correctly, it could cause problems with your posture. Knowing the correct height and placement for the desk is key to making it work for you.

Final Consensus

If you want to incorporate one of these desks into your daily work routine, it's best to find a happy medium by alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day. For the best results, use an adjustable desk that raises so you can stand and then move back to sitting down – giving you the best of both worlds.