THINKING ON OUR FEET: THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF SIT-STAND DESKS
HEALTH & FITNESS, ACTIVE OFFICE, VIDEOS 5 Minutes Reading
The sit stand desk seems to be a new phenomenon in our culture. The clear advantages to our overall health and wellness in the workplace caused by sitting less and standing more might seem like a recent discovery that will influence how we work in the future. In fact, if you look to the past you’ll find some of history’s most brilliant minds “discovered” these same benefits centuries ago.
More than a recent health trend, the sit/stand desk has a robust history with successful individuals. Leonardo DaVinci is said to have used a standing desk; artists like him throughout time have taken advantage of the freedom of movement that easels provide while creating magnificent works of art. Even today, when architects draw up plans they need to view the entire structure with a moving perspective, so they stand at drafting tables.
Standing to think seems to be ingrained in our anatomy. Ever notice the natural urge to stand up while making a breakthrough? Pacing while thinking is also a common occurrence. It’s no coincidence that movement and thinking seem to be tied together. History shows that our best work is often done while standing. However – there are even more benefits to sit-stand desks than improving inspiration in the workplace.
In addition to helping people think more clearly, sit stand desks address many of the wellness concerns facing our modern culture. Everywhere you look, the media (and advertising) tells you about how our health is constantly in danger.
As a result we’re always aware of our health, and as a society we are actually getting better about being healthy. From 2005 to 2010 the average caloric intake per person actually decreased by 78 calories[i]. The average life expectancy is steadily increasing by about 3.8 years every 20 years[ii]. That’s great news, but beyond hitting the gym and eating healthier what else can we do to make a positive impact on our overall well-being? There is a major blind spot in terms of our health, and it is in our offices and cubicles. Improving workplace wellness is the key, and sit/stand desks are leading the movement.
Nowadays, people separate their lives into “active” and “inactive” periods of time. But with the amount of time spent at the workplace, we can’t afford for it to be a 100% inactive space. Working 8+ hours per day can leave people sedentary and confined at their desk for too long.
An overly sedentary lifestyle leads to a couple of distinct problems. Studies show that the longer we remain sedentary, the more inclined we are to stay that way[iii]. Too often people won’t realize that they haven’t moved in hours until Netflix asks “are you still there?” Even if you work out for a short period, your exercise will not be very effective if the vast majority of your day is spent sitting in a car, on a couch and behind a desk[iv]. At the very least, sit stand desks allow people to naturally integrate more activity into their workday without having to interrupt moments of inspiration.
Looking towards the future, the focus on health and well-being will lead society to continue to explore what can be done in our everyday lives to live longer and be healthier. We must stand up and look to our past for inspiration – some of the greatest minds in history stood while working for a reason. As modern research continues to extol the health benefits of living a more active lifestyle, there’s no reason why modern society shouldn’t also embrace sit/stand desks.
Discover the full potential, inspiration, and health benefits of a stand/sit life with the help of our sit stand desks. Check out the rest of our resource center to learn more about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle and advances in the office wellness revolution.
[i] United States Department of Agriculture. American Adults are Choosing Healthier Foods, Consuming Healthier Diets. 2014.
[ii] University of Massachusetts Medical School. Americans Living Longer, More Healthy Lives. 2013
[iii] American Journal of Epidemiology. Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults. 2010.
[iv] Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, Bajaj RR, Silver MA, Mitchell MS, et al. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:123-132. doi:10.7326/M14-1651