By Rob Kram, National Director of Fitness Education and Development at Millennium Partners Sports Club Management
To stand or not to stand: That is the question health conscious employees and companies are trying to solve. The rise of standing desks and the subsequent popularity of this trend is still debatable. Many have researched the concept and left even more confused than when they started. The negative effects of sitting for long durations, usually more than one hour, are well documented. The list includes lower back pain usually attributed to tight hip flexors, upper crossed syndrome or forward head that can lead to neck pain and chronically tight trapezius muscles, among a host of other ailments.
With all of these negative effects being more effectively communicated through the media and fitness personalities, the logical assumption is to simply stand at ones desk instead of sitting. Unfortunately, and as usual with the human body, it’s not as easy as that. There are also plenty of problems that one can encounter from prolonged standing. From varicose veins, swelling in certain joints, and of course as usual, the common culprit of chronic lower back pain. The standing desk trend has also resulted in other ailments caused by poor posture. Many people that have intended to make a healthier decision have actually given themselves more exposure to chronic overuse issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and the same upper body problems that sitting creates with poorly positioned keyboards, screens and mouse pads.
The solution is actually one that has been echoed for years. Movement matters. Whether you are sitting all day or standing all day, the healthier choice is to move out of the same position that you put your body in as often as possible. Even sitting on a stability ball doesn’t help unless you are actually moving on it and not allowing yourself to be stuck in a static position for long durations. So if you are sitting, get up and walk around every 30 to 60 minutes and it would help to open up your chest and hip flexor muscles. If standing is more your style, switch foot positioning regularly and listen to your body if its telling you that a specific area is getting tighter than you are used to. In both cases, make sure that your work station is ergonomically correct. This means that your wrists can operate in a neutral position and that your screen is visible without you having to move your head forward. In all cases, get moving!
So, what do you think? Should we stand, or sit at work? Comment below and let us know!