Standing desks are not new news - they were favoured by Hemingway, Dickens and even our own Victor Hugo had a standing desk at Hauteville House at which he completed Les Miserables. It has, however, taken some time for standing desks to become more commonplace in a modern setting.
I first saw a Sit/Stand desk in a Chiropractic clinic in Norway back in 2001 - since then they have become the norm throughout Scandinavia but have only recently become a more of a feature of offices in the UK.
The cumulative effect of sitting for long periods for years on end has been associated with a wide range of chronic diseases including obesity, heart attacks and cancer. The scientific evidence that sitting is bad for you goes right back to the 1950s when researchers noticed that the rate of heart attacks was much higher in London bus drivers (who sat) than it was in the bus conductors (who stood).
Sitting has even been described as “the new smoking” - and whilst this is a bit over the top, it does indicate the seriousness of the conditions contributed to by sedentary behaviours. The mounting evidence for the negative health impacts of prolonged sitting has also gone hand in hand with research on the health benefits of variable height desks. For example, one 2011 study found that using sit stand desks was associated with a 54% reduction in back and neck pain after just 4 weeks.
Much of the current research has been lead by James Levine of the Mayo Clinic research Centre in Minnesota. Based on his research, his general advice is firstly to get up, second to get up more often and third, once you’re up - move. The signs so far are that the negative impacts of sitting all day are not overcome by heading to the gym after work. The solution appears to be incorporating standing, pacing and other natural moments into your day and standing at your desk for at least some of the day is a simple way of doing this.
The effect of having Sit stand desks in our Bosq Lane practice has been transformative. I thought that they would be useful but didn’t realise quite how dramatic the benefits would be. The ease with which the height of the desks can be changed is key - if the process is too complex, time consuming or inconvenient, the incentive to switch posture goes and the undoubted health benefits are lost. The MikoMax Stand Up desks we have purchased from POS have a very simple mechanism which enables continuous instantaneous transitions between sitting and standing and a huge range of working postures every day.
There is no ‘perfect’ sitting position at a desk - regardless of how well the desk is set up. The human body is meant to move and sit stand desks are an obvious way of enabling that movement and when combined with the ingenious HÅG Capisco task chairs, provide the ideal workstation solution.
Guthrie Steer Bsc (Hons) MSc DC - www.cmc.gg