Americans work longer hours a day than in previous generations. This is a fact. A Gallup report from 2014 estimated that the average full time worker in America works 47 hours per week which is significantly higher than any country in the world. Americans worked 137 hours per year than Japanese workers; 260 more hours than British workers and 499 more hours per year than the French workers. Curiously, 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week; the United States does not.
This means that we are sitting at our desk, couch or dining room chair for way too many hours per day.
Back in the day when I went to the office, I requested a standing desk. It was a game changer. I felt much better at the end of the day. So I encourage you- stand up for yourself and ask your company for a standing desk. If this is not feasible, then take your lap top and place it on top of you dresser, dining room buffet or stack those empty Amazon boxes on a desk.
There are multiple benefits of the stand-up desk:
- Burn baby burn… Those calories
When you stand, you burn 100-200 calories per hour. When you sit, you burn half of that amount. While this is certainly not as much as walking or going for a jog, it is still significant enough to make it worthwhile. Add some arm and leg movements and some squats during the day and burn even more calories.
2. Take a Stand to Live longer
Hours at a time of sitting on your bum can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer (think: colon cancer- the rate amongst younger people is higher than ever before). Further, sitting at your desk after eating lunch, causes blood sugars spike and remain high. Standing after lunch greatly reduces these spikes. This is especially important for people with Type II diabetes. As such, a sedentary life style can shorten your life.
3. Standing Desks Have Your Back
Sitting for extended periods of time causes back pain and shoulder pain, because the muscles tighten when you sit and slouch over your desk top computer. In addition, joints stiffen due to the lack of mobility with sitting. Since I have been using my standing desk, I don’t have any lower back pain and I think I may have grown an inch as my posture has greatly improved! But remember, don’t stand up hunched over, make sure your desk is at the right height.
4. Standing Desks are Uplifting
Standing desks can make you can improve your overall mental health. There is a sense of freedom and increased energy when standing. Blood circulates better which means more oxygen is pumped into the brain. The effect of this is that you will be more focused and more productive.
The rule of thumb is to stand around 15 minutes per every hour and you can work up to a longer amount of time, but you don’t want to stand for too many hours at a time. Balance is always the key!
Lisa A. Bloom resides in New York with her husband and three wonderful daughters. She graduated from the University at Albany with majors in English and Psychology and received her law degree from Hofstra University. When she isn’t working, Lisa enjoys spending time with family, writing, hot yoga and cooking Paleo. You can follow her on Instagram @Paleoworkingmama