The fear of diabetes, cancer, and early death are among the reasons standing desks have grown very popular. These are life-threatening health problems associated with prolonged sitting on the job, and standing desks promises to reduce their risk.
But very little attention has been given to the harmful effects of standing only desks. There are several hidden downsides to these desks that vendors won't mention. In fact, some of these harmful effects can cause serious health complications in the long run.
Studies have shown that standing for long hours at work is not good for your health. Therefore, investing in a standing only desk will expose you to more health problems. We have rounded up some of these health complications.
Here are some of the major health problems with standing only desks:
1. Swelling Feet and Ankles
Swelling of the feet and ankles is one of the most notable health problems with standing only desks. For the first days of using the desk, everything will work just fine. But with time, you will start experiencing itching and pain in your ankles and feet. The explanation for this problem is pretty simple.
When you switch to standing only desk, it means you will work the whole time standing. This means your body weight will put more stress on the lower leg, with the feet and ankles being the most affected. The high pressure from your body weight will put a strain on your leg, feet, and ankles. That's what makes them swell. they key is to alternate, then many of the health benefits of a standup desk will be achieved.
In addition to that, the little movement when standing causes less circulation around the lower limb. The result is inflammation and discomfort. According to research conducted by Boston University, standing for long hours was also found to increase the musculoskeletal pain of the lower leg. That's because of torn muscles and tendons and poor circulation.
2. Increased Risk of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are a medical problem caused by faulty valves in the veins. When the valves allow the blood to flow in the opposite directing, it results in enlarged and twisted veins. The problem mostly affects the legs and, more so, lower leg veins. Although most people don't have any symptoms, varicose veins can be a serious aesthetic concern.
Standing for long hours has been associated with the risk of varicose veins. That's according to scientific research conducted on people in Denmark people. When standing, the circulation in the lower legs is very low, and this may trigger the blood to start flowing in the opposite direction. That's how using standing alone desks increases the risk of varicose veins.
The most effective way to avoid varicose veins is taking breaks when working. They help to release pressure in your legs and improve circulation. Therefore, a sit-stand desk would be the ideal desk. If you are working, avoid long strenuous workouts to the legs.
3. Poor Posture
The widely used marketing gimmick for standing desks is that sitting for long hours causes poor posture. There are many health problems mentioned as a result of poor posture, and the recommended solution is a standing desk. Unfortunately, these desks will not provide a solution to all your posture problems. We have covered ideal sit/stand time in our guide on using a standing desk.
Studies have shown that standing-only desks make the posture problem worse. When standing for long hours, it is very difficult to pay attention to proper ergonomics. With the lower leg, feet, and ankles already giving you problems, you find yourself bending at unhealthy angles. We all know the problems associated with poor posture, including back and neck pains.
Note that the spine is also under immense compressed when standing. All these factors make poor posture a big health issue. The solution to the posture problem is improving ergonomic when at work. With standing only desk, you don't enjoy the benefits of height adjustment. What you need is a sit-stand desk to address all your posture problems.
4. High Risk Of Heart Diseases
Studies have shown that standing for an extended period increases the risk of heart diseases. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology studied workers in various categories for 12 years. The finding was that workers who spent time standing on the job were twice as likely to develop heart diseases as those who stand and sit or primarily sit.
But how is the risk of heart diseases increased by standing? If you stand for too long, there is an increased risk of blood pooling in the legs. The pressure in the veins will be increased, as well as the oxidative stress when standing. These are the main factors that contribute to an increase in cardiovascular diseases.
Therefore, investing in standing-only desks will increase the risk of heart diseases twice. But the solution is simple. The study was based on prolonged standing on the job. If you can reduce the standing time, you will have solved the problem. Having a mix of standing and sitting while working is highly recommended.
5. Pregnancy Complications
Sitting or standing for a prolonged period can increase the risk of pregnancy complications. However, standing for long hours has the most devastating effects on pregnant mothers. One of the complications is preterm birth, which puts the health of the baby at risk. There is also the risk of having babies with low birth weight.
Did you know that prolonged standing can cause a miscarriage? Well, that's a proven medical fact. Standing for long hours on the job puts pressure on your womb due to the downward pull. In addition to that, standing for long hours has also been found to increase blood pressure, which can cause serious complications during pregnancy like a miscarriage.
So, if you are working on a standing desk while pregnant, you risk these and many other complications. The best solution is developing a sitting, standing, and walking work pattern. This will help reduce sitting or standing for extended periods.
In conclusion, these are just some of the health problems associated with a standing only desk. Other health problems include discomfort and muscle fatigue. But when used properly, these desks can be of really big help. The trick is to avoid standing for too long. Try switching from standing to sitting or walking. That's how you will reduce the impact of standing.