About that Standing Desk You’re Lobbying For

Standing desks are all the rage in the workplace. They’ve been linked to weight loss, less back pain, and possibly lower anxiety levels.

But are all of those benefits necessarily true? Sure, it makes sense that standing and moving would burn lots more calories than sitting, but does it? A 2016 study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found otherwise. The study fitted 74 healthy people with masks that measured oxygen consumption as a reflection of how many calories they burned while doing computer work, watching TV, standing, or walking on a treadmill. The findings?

  • While sitting, subjects burned 80 calories/hour, about the same as typing or watching TV.
  • While standing, the number of calories burned was only slightly higher than while sitting — 88 calories/hour.
  • Walking burning 210 calories/hour.

OK, so if you stood at your desk for three hours instead of sitting, your increased calorie burning would equal…wait for it…24 extra calories. That’s about the number of calories in a carrot.

Hmm. So standing desks aren’t doing much for weight loss. They can help if your office chair is killing your back, but that can also be a factor of your posture, the quality of your chair, and other factors.

Since we deal with pain caused by sitting all day at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic. Here are a couple other things you can do at work, rather than putting all of your eggs on lobbying for that $1000 standing desk.

  • Walk around— If you work from home or have an office, you could get one of those mini self-powered treadmills. They have two incline positions and fold up easily. Or you could just take a walk at lunch, and just get up and move about periodically throughout the day.
  • Desk dumbbells— While you may have to suffer office dumbbells, your body would like you to bring some desk dumbbells to work. These are two, three, and five-pound dumbbells that you can use for a few biceps curls while proofing that report or reading your emails. You can get neoprene sets that stack on Amazon.
  • Balance your sitting— A balance ball instead of a regular office chair is good for your back. Without a backrest, you’re forced to focus on your posture. Balancing also engages your core muscles. If a ball isn’t really an option, you can get a balance ball chair stool.
  • Sit up straight— Slouching toward your computer screen is no good for your back or your health in general. There is a tool called Upright Go that is a digital posture coach. It’s a strapless corrector that sits on your upper back and uses gentle vibrations to remind you to sit up when you begin to slouch.

So, while all of your co-workers have been badgering purchasing for a standing desk, you could do just as well or better by doing some of the above items. And you may stay in the good graces of the accounting department at the same time.

If you suffer from chronic back pain, try some of this stuff. If it doesn’t help, give Dr. Trujillo a call at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, (855) 768-4968. We can help.

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