man standing slightly slouching over a standing desk looking at apple monitor

Why Standing Desks Improve Posture, Fitness, Flexibility, Pelvic Tilt & Brain Function

I personally want to say that buying a standing desk because it is a good investment for your body health and cognitive function. You know, I have a big issue with staying on task while I work on the computer. I feel like falling asleep, I feel unfocused, I just feel off. I do incorporate exercise to get get going at the start of the day. But then after a while, I arrive to a similar problem with focusing at the task at hand. It feels unnatural to start my day sitting at a desk.

cat lying down squinting eyes in a daze about to go to sleepSo I guess feeling unfocused means that posture has a significant effect on your cognition. If you are laying down, it is a lot harder to think because you’ll end up falling asleep. If you are sitting, its easier to think than standing, but after a while you will start to feel uncomfortable and perhaps some pressure on your lower back. But if you are standing, I feel that this is the most natural position for the human being to be in. Not just standing of course, our body is meant to move. And you know, just standing in one place doesn’t mean that you aren’t moving. You’ll find that if you give your body the freedom to stand, you will automatically start pacing around when you need to think very hard on a particular task.

And this is what people with ADHD do in order to think more clearly- they move around. But sitting in one place is unhealthy because moving around is not only a lot harder, but also puts the human body in an unnatural position. No wonder I have so many problems focusing while I am in the class room. The sitting position really doesn’t promote learning and attentiveness. I mean, why do you think that people fall asleep during meetings? Even if the subject is boring, that’s not the true cause of falling asleep. No, the sitting position perhaps allows you to be too relaxed, or prevents adequate blood flow to the brain.

Either way, I intend to buy a standing desk to further enhance my productivity and cognitive focus. I personally am looking at the ApexDesk Elite Series Standing Desk, because this particular type of desk is adjustable. If I have any regrets with standing, or if I need to give my feet a break from standing, I can simple change the standing desk into a sitting desk with the push of a button. How convenient!

If you want to further investigate why a standing desk is such a good investment, I have compiled some research below that will give you a solid list of reasons why a standing desk is such a good investment.

The Human Body is Designed to Move

close up nike sports shoes ready to run white blue profileAs bipedal organisms, humans are designed in a way that makes standing/walking incredibly efficient. From the orientation of your hips, the structure of your knees and ankles to the arch in your feet, everything from the pelvis down is equipped to be stable and use the least amount of energy when standing. On the other hand, prolong sitting has only been around relatively recently and it was only in the past few decades that we started spending the majority of our day in chairs.

When you are sitting the center of gravity is your lower back which is supporting most of your weight (especially when slouching). When you are standing however, most of this weight is effectively balanced between your two legs. Due to this design, your legs are well equipped to handle these forces.

Your lower back typically isn’t designed to bear this much weight (even if you regularly work on core strength), and so this of course isn’t ideal for your body’s overall skeletal & muscular health (given the importance of this area of your body).

As you can see, sitting and slouching are the worst possible positions due to the heavy strain on your back. Along with weight from a big belly and low fitness levels, this places stress on the ligaments and muscles holding your back together resulting in things like a herniated disc. It is thought that this is the reason why back problems are so prevalent in our society today.

Conversely, standing for a long period of time – particularly if you’re largely static – will have similar consequences on your structural health (e.g. people often lean to one side naturally).

Sitting Too long Causes Anterior Pelvic Tilt

up straight vs slouching standing posture due to prolong sitting“In the pelvis there is a muscle called the illiopsoas. It originates in the base of the pelvis and inserts on the upper portion of the femur. It acts to flex the leg at the hip. When you sit this muscle is shortened, chronic shortening (aka sitting a lot) makes the muscle stay in this shortened position causing an anterior pelvic tilt. This seems unimportant but in terms of biomechanics having an anterior pelvic tilt puts a huge stress on the body to compensate for an inefficient distribution of weight through the pelvis.”

So what this means is that your spine has to bend more in an unnatural fashion, it affects your running gait, and that your belly sticks out more.

In comparison, a person who doesn’t sit all the time with a more natural body stands up straighter, runs with a better gait, and has a relatively flatter belly if he isn’t fat to begin with.

Prolonged sitting may Mess with Blood Circulation

sexy black man in a working suit blue tartan checker suit and tie“Sitting reduces circulation by placing too much pressure on the veins and nerves in your legs and butt. Standing poses fewer risks than sitting does but even standing for long periods of time can also impact your circulation by causing pooling around your ankles. Your heart ends up having to working harder to draw the blood from around your feet back up to your heart. Standing needs to be accompanied by moving. Humans were designed to move and not to be still for long periods of time due to our hunting/scavenging nature. Being still for hours a day is really bad for us.”

I do personally feel that circulation is effected when you are sitting down. When I stand up, I feel that my head is very clear. But when I sit down, I tend to feel sleepier while I try to work.

Another observation is that sitting all day affects how easy it is for you to fall asleep. The gist of it is that if you stand all day, you can easily fall asleep if you lay down. But if you sit all day, then falling asleep while your laying down is a lot harder.

Excessive Sitting Makes you Less Flexible

man splayed leg stretching football uniform out on the fieldThe issue isn’t limited to sitting versus standing. It’s about balance. We’ve lost the balance in many of our body’s systems due to industrialization and ease of life. One of the biggest hits is our muscular system. Imagine you are constantly sitting on your heels on the floor and lying your chest on your thighs all balled up. Well this is the closest you could get to what we would call total body flexion. The result is roughly half of your muscles would be forever shortening and the rest forever lengthening. Horrible for being able to do anything if you were to unravel and try to move functionally. Well, sitting is a less dramatic version of that yet people still do it for 8-10 hours easily and this causes the same outcome.

I don’t have much to add to this. I do notice that I feel a lot more unstable on my feet; I’m less used to using them given that I sit at my workplace for a majority of my time. So this means that I (and you too if you sit a lot) don’t have a lot of natural balance when on foot. The decrease in flexibility means that my gait in running will be shorter; it will be harder for my feet to cover larger distances. So yea, sitting really reduces your natural mobility.

An Anecdotes of Making the Switch from Sitting to Standing

While most people talk of the health benefits versus sitting, there’s a bunch of other neat things you experience.

I transitioned from sitting 15+ hours a day (yes, sitting on your couch at home counts, too!), to standing 9+. I’m inherently lazy, but once you get over the first couple of days standing, it becomes easy.

Sitting for extended period becomes uncomfortable, so you want to be active more. I haven’t gained any weight since I stopped sitting at work, and this is without any diet changes or any exercise.

Focus and productivity increase. I don’t get tired while working as much, if at all. Work is more pleasurable. I end the day with far more mental and physical energy to do stuff at home. My thighs are noticeably more ripped. Even bowel movements occur closer to the natural cycle than before. The only major factor I can attribute to these improvements is my change to standing more.

The above is purely anecdotal, but there are many studies and other analyses that validate similar changes.

What Type of Standing Desk is the Best to Buy?

standing desk in sitting formation form

I’ve already mentioned my intention to buy the ApexDesk Elite Series Standing Desk because it is adjustable with the push of a button. This desk has some electric motors in the legs that allow it to grow taller or shorter to your desired height. This is really fantastic, because with this desk you are not limited to only standing- you still have the option for adjusting the desk for sitting. And really, you actually want to vary up your positions in the workspace. Because the majority of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) happen because of repetitive strain on a certain part of the body.

For taxi cab drivers, that would be the foot that they use to repetitively step on the acceleration and brake pedals in a car. For the employee in an office environment, the repeated strain would be placed on the lower back of the spine due to extended periods of stationary sitting. So to prevent RSI, it is a good idea for vary up the body positions that you work in- and the ApexDesk Elite Series Standing Desk perfectly allows for that by giving you both the option to sit and stand.

Another option is to use your preexisting desk with a Desk Riser, like the ApexDesk GX 36″ Desk Riser. This cool gadget is basically a platform with adjustable height, with enough space to place two monitors side-by-side. This is really choice if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a totally new desk, or if you don’t have enough room for an entirely new desk. With this Desk Riser, you still have both options open to you for sitting and standing; and I’ve already mentioned why being able to vary up your body positions while working is good to prevent RSI.

 desk riser with example laptop and monitor and keyboard and mouse apple type desk riser image showing load capacity

Finally, if you plan to add a lot more standing to your work style, I would suggest getting an anti-fatigue mat like the Sky Anti Fatigue Mat for Standing Desks in order to keep your feet healthy and unstrained.

checker patterned close up anti fatigue mat  standing on a anti fatigue mat for better standing posture

Anti fatigue mats prevent your feet from hurting by standing in one place for long periods of time. The foam helps distribute the pressure along the whole base of the feet, so you don’t end up with sore feet at the end of the day.

In conclusion, I would like to say that sitting all day isn’t healthy for you. Varying up your working positions by standing is a great way to improve posture, prevent RSI & back injuries, and remove a lot of stress on your spine.

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