Apparently these days, sitting is the new smoking. Whether you believe that or not, I think everyone will agree that hours on end sitting slumped at a desk is not really the most optimal way to spend a day. I wear a Fitbit and it buzzes if I’ve not taken 250 steps in an hour; when I’m sitting at my desk that happens every single hour.
I had looked into getting a standing desk… but I do also have times when I want to be able to sit at my desk too. I tried one of those stand things that goes on top of a normal desk, but transitioning between standing and sitting involved moving my laptop, trailing wires and all sorts… my power cable almost ended up in my coffee more than once! Added to this, I’m a bit on the short side – so every desk I’ve ever used has been too high for me!
I was intrigued then, when I was offered an adjustable standing desk from FlexiSpot. This is an electronic adjustable desk which moves smoothly up and down to the required height. It can be positioned at any point between 60 and 125cm, meaning it’s suitable for anyone of any height.
As you can see, I still need to work on my trailing cables game – but the power cable for my laptop doesn’t end up perilously close to my coffee any longer!
The great thing about this desk is not just that you can move it smoothly up and down to your desired height; it’s the fact you can do that with a full mug of coffee on the desk, and it won’t end up spilled everywhere. The control panel has a child lock to avoid small hands getting up to mischief, and you can also program it to pre-set heights to ensure it automatically goes to your desired height each time.
As well as this, the desk has an anti-collision function – if it’s moving up or down and comes up against something, it stops trying to move. This is an important safety feature for those of us with small people wandering about!
Why use a standing desk?
Standing desks are better for your overall health
People who routinely spend a lot of time sitting have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and early death. Small studies have shown that people who remain standing after lunch reduce the spike in their blood sugar by 43% compared to those who remain seated.
Standing at a desk can help you to be more active
I read an article once about how people who go to the gym first thing in the morning often offset that by doing very little for the rest of their day – they feel they’ve earned their time lounging about because they’ve already worked out but this means that over the course of the day they often end up moving less than someone who has not been to the gym. I have found this to be true in my own experience. It sounds silly, but I’m more inclined to move around when I’m already standing up, versus needing to stand up from a chair before moving.
Standing at a desk can reduce back pain and improve posture
I don’t know about you, but I do not have good posture when sitting at a desk. I’ll often have one leg pulled up underneath me; I’ll lean over to one side and slump down in my chair, only moving when a part of my body begins to complain. When I’m standing, I’m more mindful of my posture and how I’m standing. I might slump over to one side a little or drop my hip – but I soon notice I’m doing that, and bring myself back to a more even stance.
Apparently in studies participants have reported a 32% improvement in lower back pain after a few weeks using a standing desk. Another study found that using a sit-stand desk (like my one) reduced upper back pain and neck pain by 54% after 4 weeks. Interestingly, when those people had their sit-stand desks taken away their problems returned within 2 weeks.
Standing desks can help to improve mood and energy levels
I find that I feel more energised if I’m standing at my desk. This is especially true on a day when I’m not feeling especially energetic. If I sit down at my desk to begin work, the chances are my energy levels will only go in one direction: down. If I stand at my desk though, I do find that I feel better and more energetic as the day goes on.
In one study participants using standing desks reported less stress and fatigue than those sitting down all day. I do find that if I spend the day standing at my desk I feel more able to deal with my never-ending to-do list – and I also seem to tick more things off it too!
Getting started with a standing desk
If you’re not used to standing all day, it can be a big change. It’s not a good idea to go from 7 hours sitting down each day to suddenly spending those same 7 hours standing at a desk; you’ll find that your legs are tired and you’re not enjoying yourself. General advice is to start by doing 50/50 standing and sitting – so maybe stand for the morning and sit in the afternoons for a few days and build up to spending the whole day standing.
Make sure your desk and screen are at the right height. This is something I think a lot of people who work at home overlook. When I worked in an office we had someone whose job it was to come around and ensure our desks were all set up ergonomically so that we wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Essentially, the top of your screen needs to be in line with your eyes, whether you’re standing or sitting. This might mean that if you’re using a laptop, you’ll need to put it on a stand to ensure the screen is at the right height.
If you’re thinking about trying a standing desk, take a look at the FlexiSpot site; they are joining in with the Black Friday sales with up to 50% off sitewide between November 26th & 29th (2021).
Disclosure: we received this item in exchange for a review but all words and opinions are our own.