Sitting gets blamed for many things, obesity, disease and general muscular system dysfunction. There was a recent article on the Huffington Post claiming it was as bad for your health as smoking. This has spawned various attempts at solutions, one of which is the standing desk.
Is standing better for your health than sitting though?
The research is mixed. Studies have found a minimal increase in calorie expenditure for subjects using a standing desk. It appears that moving burns more calories than either sitting or standing still however. No shit.
Other studies have pointed to increases in work productivity and reductions in back pain associated with poor sitting posture.
I have discussed the many reasons why we place our bodies in the positions we do. Ultimately this comes down to decisions that are made for us by our central nervous system (CNS).
One of the critical factors in these decisions is strength. Are your muscles strong enough to hold desired postures?
It stands to reason (no pun intended) that aligning your head and your pelvis will reduce the work that your spinal muscles have to perform during the day. This may well reduce back pain as a consequence if there is an underlying weakness in that area.
It also stands to reason (pun intended this time) that being on your feet all day may produce it’s own issues. Those chiefly being in the lower legs and feet. Anybody who has done a few shifts on a shop floor will attest to this.
There is therefore no magic solution to the problem that most of us have to spend large amounts of time stationary looking at a computer screen. Doing this sitting, standing or upside down will have positives and negatives.
One thing the research is clear on however is that those who are physically active when they are away from their desks drastically reduce their risk of disease.
Rather like the smoker who won’t eat eggs because of the health risk, the more obvious answer often eludes us.