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If you’re concerned about your health, you probably try to eat right (most days, anyway!), go to the gym several times a week, stay away from tobacco and excess alcohol, and maybe even engage in some meditation now and then to keep the stress levels low.

Even if you do all that, though, you can still be jeopardizing your health.

Many studies show that sitting for long periods is detrimental to your health, even if you exercise daily and adopt other healthy habits. Sitting too much is separate from not exercising enough. Both are harmful.

Think about all the time you spend sitting at work, sitting in front of the TV, or sitting in your car. If you add up all that time, chances are it’s a pretty hefty number.

If you spend too much time sitting, you run a higher risk of becoming diabetic, getting fat, developing heart or cardiovascular disease, dying from cancer (especially breast or colon cancer), suffering chronic inflammation, or just dying prematurely.

But what if your job requires you to sit at a desk all day? How can you reduce your risk of falling prey to these conditions?

Use a standing desk!

What Are Standing Desks?

Standing desks are elevated desks. Even though they are growing rapidly in popularity, they aren’t new. Many wealthy European people had them in their homes and offices throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are several varieties of standing desks, however. There are kits that allow you to convert an existing desk into a standing desk. There are manually-adjustable standing desks as well as electric ones with automatic adjustment.

How Often Should I Stand at My Desk?

The research shows that it’s important to get up and stand or walk around intermittently throughout the day in order to break up your sitting time. But just how much is beneficial?

Most experts agree that you should stand at least 15 minutes every hour. However, increasing your standing time up to 45 minutes every hour offers even more benefits. At the very least, nearly everyone agrees that you should stand for at a minimum of two hours out of every 8-hour workday.

Kinesiology professor Jack Callaghan conducted research on standing and found that standing for a 3:1 ratio was ideal. For example, stand for 45 minutes and sit for 15 minutes. When he surveyed people who stood for longer periods of time without taking a sitting break, he found that 50% of them were experiencing back and foot pain as a result.

If you’re used to sitting all day, it’s a good idea to work up to longer standing times. Don’t just show up to work one day and think, “Oh, I think I’ll stand for all 8 hours today!”.  Start with 5 minutes of standing time, then go for 10, and then slowly work your way up to 30 or 45 minutes of standing time over several days or weeks.

Standing Desks Offer Numerous Benefits

Proponents of standing desks often tout the numerous health benefits that come from using the desks, but there are other benefits, as well. Standing desks can boost your productivity, improve your attitude, increase your cognitive abilities, and even increase your engagement with coworkers and customers.

Using a standing desk can help you think better and also remember better. A study done at the Texas A & M School of Public Health found that “continued use of standing desks was associated with significant improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities”.

A 2016 study found that workers who used standing desks significantly increased their productivity. In addition, the longer they used the standing desks, the more their productivity increased.  Productivity measurements showed an increase of 23% in the first month, but then it kept increasing.  By the time the workers had been using the standing desks for 6 consecutive months, their productivity had risen to 53% more than before they started using the desks.

The same study also showed some unexpected benefits, as well. Those using the standing desks said that their comfort level had increased, their outlook for the future had improved, and they experienced a more favourable attitude about their work.

Standing desks are becoming quite popular and for good reason. They offer you a chance to improve your health, boost productivity, and even improve your memory.