The guys over at The Art of Manliness got it going on.I sit on my arse all day long. It’s not good and it needs to stop.
5 Reasons to Use a Stand-Up Desk
So should you follow in Jefferson’s and Hemingway’s footsteps and start working on your feet? Here are five reasons to consider making the switch:
1. To Avoid an Early Grave
Excessive sitting is slowly killing you. I know. It seems like hyperbole. But it’s not. A study found that men who sit for more than six hours of their leisure time each day had a 20% higher death rate than those who sat for three hours or less. The epidemiologist who conducted the study, Alpha Patel, concluded that excessive sitting literally shortens a person’s life by several years. Another study showed that men who sat for 23 or more hours a week had a 64% greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours per week or less.
So why is sitting so frighteningly bad for you?
Well sitting is the ultimate passive activity; you burn more calories chewing gum than you do slouching in your chair.
When you sit, the electrical activity in your muscles flat lines, and your body uses very little energy. Powering down your body like that for long periods of time leads to a cascade of negative effects. Your heart rate, calorie burn, insulin effectiveness, and levels of good cholesterol all drop. Your body also stops producing lipoprotein lipase and other molecules that are only released when you flex your muscles, such as when you are standing and walking. These molecules play an important role in processing fats and sugars; without them, your metabolism suffers. Add these factors up, and it’s no wonder that those who sit for long periods of time each day have larger waistlines and worse blood sugar and blood pressure profiles and are at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer than who sit less.
And if you think you’re off the hook because you get in a bout of vigorous exercise each day…you’re not. Studies have shown that exercise does not counteract the negative effects of sitting. It’s like thinking you can snack on Twinkies all day, and then offset that by running for an hour.
2. To Lose Weight
As mentioned above, when you sit, your heart rate and calorie burn go down. Health experts will tell you that weight gain typically creeps on gradually from consuming a few too many calories here and there, and slowing down in small ways as we age. We just keeping putting on a couple of pounds each year until a decade goes by and suddenly we’re tubby. I did a test with my heart rate monitor and found that my heart rate was 10 beats higher when I was standing than sitting, and I burned 54 calories in an hour of sitting as opposed to 72 in an hour of standing. That doesn’t seem like much, but if you sub in four hours of standing for four hours of sitting a day, that could translate to 7 lbs a year!
3. To Save Your Back
When I go to the gym I see all these middle-aged guys lying on the floor and contorting their bodies into weird stretches in an attempt to alleviate their chronic back pain. These aren’t blue-collar men who’ve strained their back from years of heavy labor; no, they are white collar guys whose pain stems from not using their backs enough. Years of slouching in a chair has taken a toll. Standing up engages your back muscles and improves your posture. Many folks who have made the switch to a stand-up desk have reported that the change cured their back pain.
4. To Increase Your Focus
Standing up can increase your focus in several ways. First, you don’t get that sleepy feeling where you desperately want to put your head down on the desk and pass out; your muscles are engaged and you’re less comfortable, so you stay alert. And second, it lets you be more active so you can release your restless energy. You can move around more, shift from one leg to another, and start pacing around whenever you’d like.
And perhaps there’s something to be said for the argument one hears from creative-types that standing increases your blood flow, thus keeping your brain juiced for inspiration.
5. To Gain a Satisfying Tiredness
While you get less sleepy while working standing up, at the same time you gain a satisfying overall tiredness by the end of the day. I hate going to bed feeling like my body hasn’t done a damn thing all day. When you stand up while you work, you earn that satisfying body-used feeling, and at night you fall asleep fast into a restful snooze.
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