How To Have Less Back Pain at Work
I have definitely experienced back pain from sitting before. That’s why I am convinced standing is better! To avoid your feet getting tired, you can wear comfortable shoes or have a soft mat under your desk.
It is not hard to make your desk a standing desk. A good stack of books can do the trick.
Benefits of Standing
Standing reduces the risk of weight gain and obesity.
Your body is better able to burn more calories when you are standing vs. sitting. A sedentary lifestyle, where you spend most of your time sitting, invariably leads to weight gain and obesity.
A recent study published by the Mayo Clinic reveals that standing for at least six hours throughout the day significantly decreases the probability of obesity in both men and women.
The study used three measures to assess over 7,000 adults: body mass index, body fat percentage, and waist circumference. The researchers found that men who stood up for at least six hours per day had a 59% reduced likelihood of obesity. For women, standing for at least six hours a day was linked to a 35% reduced chance of obesity.
Standing can help ease or reduce chronic back pain.
According to a Stanford University back pain study, workers who used sit-stand desks instead of regular desks while working were more likely to report a pain-free day.
During this study, 46 participants received a sit-stand workstation at the beginning or end of the three-month trial. At the end of each workday, participants completed a short survey.
Following weeks 1, 6, and 12, participants filled out comprehensive surveys. The surveys had a modified brief pain inventory and the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, designed to self-assess one’s physical disability caused by low back pain.
This study found that participants who were given a sit-stand workstation reported having a significant reduction in both their current and worst lower back pain over the three-month period.
Another study also reports that transitioning from a seated to a standing position every 30 minutes during the workday can significantly reduce fatigue levels and lower back discomfort in overweight/obese office workers.
For this study, overweight/obese office workers went through two five-day experimental conditions. The participants performed their typical occupational tasks for eight hours each day in either a seated work posture or alternating between standing and sitting every 30 minutes.
Standing vs. sitting lowers the risk of heart disease.
Choosing to stand rather than sit lowers blood sugar and cholesterol and keeps weight off—all of which decreases your risk for heart disease.
Researchers in Australia found that standing helps increase your “good” HDL cholesterol and decrease your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Trading standing for sitting for an extra two hours per day was associated with a 2% lower average fasting blood sugar level in both men and women and an 11% lower average level of triglycerides.
Standing for the extra time was also shown to improve HDL cholesterol by 0.06 mmol/L and lower LDL cholesterol by 6%. In fact, every two hours spent sitting each day was associated with increased weight and waist size, increased blood sugar, and bad cholesterol levels.
Not surprisingly, time spent walking instead of sitting had a reverse effect. However, simply substituting two hours of standing for sitting improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Self-administered questionnaires were then given to measure fatigue, musculoskeletal discomfort, and work productivity on the fifth day of each experimental condition.
Participants in this study reported having a significantly higher total fatigue score when they sat for the entire eight-hour day than when they alternated between sitting and standing.
Standing while working helps tone muscles.
Standing while working helps strengthen your core muscles and leg, ankle, and foot muscles. It also helps improve your posture and balance.
Standing with good posture is a great way to strengthen and tone your body. To ensure you have the correct posture, stand up straight and center your feet below your hips. Tuck in your tailbone, push your shoulders back and straighten your neck, so you are holding your head up high. This will help tone your core muscles and can even raise your metabolism.
With the one simple change of getting up throughout the day or doing as much of your work standing as possible, you can immensely benefit your health. Standing and walking throughout the day is an easy addition to your health regimen that won’t cost you time or money.
Standing helps reduce the risk of cancer.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, almost 50,000 cases of breast cancer and over 40,000 cases of colon cancer each year are caused by inactivity.
Prolonged sitting, even by people who exercise regularly, also increases the risk for cancer. Standing up throughout the day gets your circulation moving and reduces inflammation and other markers that raise cancer risk.
Prolonged sitting is considered to be one of the largest cancer risk factors. Engaging in short bouts of activity such as standing and walking about can help protect against many cancers.
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