No longer are standing desks relegated to eccentric historical figures or used as decorative conversation pieces. They are becoming mainstream as people develop a greater awareness of the health benefits of standing over sitting.
An article published at Smithsonian.com discusses the 5 health benefits of standing desks. The research behind the article was done by an endocrinologist, Dr. James Levine at Mayo Clinic. It illuminates both the growing health epidemic we are facing and how standing up can make a huge difference.
The article claims that standing can reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, along with lowering the long term mortality risk. Levine and his colleagues tested a group of people and found that the people who moved more during the day, not going to the gym but just subtle movements, were less likely to gain weight. They found that sitting for long periods led to a reduced ability to regulate glucose in the bloodstream, which leads to metabolic syndrome, which is a huge risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
There have been multiple studies, long before Levine’s research, that links sitting to cardiovascular risk, and the article sites disturbing data that adults that sit for 2 more hours daily than others have a 125% greater risk of health problems from cardiovascular disease. According to the article, there is also recent data that links sitting to an increased risk of breast and colon cancer, along with other types of cancer. In Australia, an article concluded that, in a 7 year study, adults that decreased sitting time to 3 hours per day increased their life expectancy by 2 years.
Sitting is the new smoking, and the data is fast becoming available to substantiate this. The only way to combat this epidemic is by standing up, and using a standing desk can help.