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The scientific standing way of office

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2023年6月23日

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As more and more workers work in offices for long periods of time, the choice of office posture has become a problem that we cannot get around. In the past, the media often publicized the dangers of sedentary work, and in previous years, standing up was almost promoted as the "cure for all diseases".
My company has always had sit stand desk for its employees, and we are actively encouraged to purchase facilities to assist with standing. However, in the process of gathering information for this article, I increasingly questioned the absolute usefulness and validity of "standing up" (in fact, almost every article on standing up has an opposing voice underneath).
So what is a healthy way to work, and do we need an electric standing desk?

"Sitting" is not new, but standing is not.

The human body is very fragile, whether it is standing or sitting, as long as it is stationary, will bring certain health hazards. The hazards of sitting for a long time Even if the ergonomic office chair, sedentary may still bring the following hazards, and unhealthy sitting posture will expand this harm: the
Left: wrong sitting posture Right: ergonomic sitting posture
Elbows, shoulders, and neck: office time for a long time to maintain a bent wrist posture can cause fatigue, which can easily lead to elbow damage; at the same time, if the shoulders and chest are not stretched, the entire upper trunk will maintain a state of pressure; improper placement of the keyboard position will also make people in a state of muscle tension for a long time.
Feet, back: If the feet are not flat on the ground or crossed legs, the pressure can be transmitted to our waist, resulting in long-term lumbar muscle strain. Long-term hunchback and kyphosis will lead to spinal deformation.
Anal: Research shows that the total prevalence of anal diseases in urban areas is 51.14%, which is a very common chronic disease. One of the biggest influencing factors is a poor lifestyle and eating habits. The main cause of the anal disease is sedentary without standing computer desk.

Standing office is not a "cure-all"

However, adjustable height desk may not be as healthy as marketed - can cure all kinds of diseases. If you search for papers on "standing", you will find that "standing hazards" are also a problem that cannot be ignored.
When advocating best standing desk, we are mostly targeting some lucky white-collar workers in office buildings. Many occupations that require long hours of standing, such as nurses, supermarket cashiers, traffic police, and flight attendants, can cause sore feet, swollen legs, varicose veins, and muscle fatigue due to prolonged standing (varicose veins are a very prevalent occupational disease, and a nurse friend of mine was not able to avoid it even with medical compression stockings). Regarding anal diseases, standing still for a long time will likewise lead to increased perianal pressure, thus causing hemorrhoids.
As for the touted benefits of adjustable desk with drawers, such as its negative mood and reduced mortality, current studies generally can only conclude correlations, and cannot explain standing office as a direct cause. At the same time, there are also studies that show that standing office also leads to slower reaction time and a worse mental state.
Standing for long periods of time is especially not recommended if a person is overweight; people at high risk for venous thrombosis or varicose veins must also be careful, as prolonged standing may aggravate the condition.

Is it still necessary to stand up and work?

Even with these risks, L-shaped standing desk certainly has a direct advantage: extra calorie consumption. A study from the University of Pittsburgh compared the effects of standing, alternating standing and sitting, and sitting on energy expenditure in three work positions, and the paper noted that although the extra energy consumed in standing offices was small, there was a statistically significant difference with sitting offices (p < 0.01). Although the effect of weight loss is not achieved, the accumulation over time is considerable.
The chart below shows a month's history of Apple Watch Activity before and after I used the lifting table at my company. It is still clear from the chart averages that this change in lifestyle brought about a numerical change in me after the change. Although standing itself does not solve the back pain, and shoulder and neck discomfort in the office, because of the choice of standing gaming desk, the body is no longer fixed in a certain position, and the frequency of walking around will increase accordingly. At the same time, in order to prevent excessive pressure on the knees from standing, I will intermittently walk around and do some stretching exercises.
So even though I know the risks of small standing desk, in my case, I would still consider standing in my work. Although standing does not solve all the problems, compared to sitting more calories burned are not really significant, but it expands my range of motion in the office, improves the frequency of activity, and also in busy time to help me relieve health stress.
But if you have the above-mentioned health risks, then adjusting to the correct sitting posture, regularly getting up and moving, and maintaining exercise habits may be more suitable for you.
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