If you've come across any of the articles or studies proclaiming all of the health risks of sitting, you may find them hard to finish without getting seriously antsy. Enter the standing desk: a simple solution to those previously bound to a chair from nine to five. The jury may still be out on whether these desks actually do anything for your health, but new research has brought us one step closer to figuring it out.
Researchers out of the University of Pittsburgh reviewed 53 studies focused on the effects of using standing desks throughout the workday. After vetting each of the studies, they found that the health benefits people got from using standing desks were—drumroll, please—pretty minimal.
After reviewing the desks along six factors—behavior, physiological, work performance, psychological, discomfort, and posture—they found a couple of benefits, although small, for low-back pain and improved blood pressure. Where the desks fell short were in regards to protecting against obesity and cardiovascular issues, which researchers previously hoped for.
For actual improvements to overall health, look to movement. One study found that replacing just a half-hour of sitting each day with some form of activity could cut mortality rates by up to 35 percent.
Incorporating more movement into your day doesn't mean you need to install a treadmill underneath your desk (although if you have, more power to you). Little ways to get a few extra steps in throughout your nine-to-five could include taking walking meetings, more frequent trips to the watercooler, or using the stairs instead of the elevator.
This research isn't to say you should abandon your standing endeavors, but keeping mindful of your movement during the day is a solid place to start on the path to improving your health.