Apple Watches have a notification feature that reminds you to stand every hour. Prepare yourself to buy a new standing desk.
Aussies have been on a rampage buying as many lifelogging and wearable devices as they can get. From Fitbits to Sleeping Systems, everyone is going tech gadget crazy.
For the health conscious, one of the most exciting features of the new Apple Watch will be the fact that it can detect whether you are sitting or standing and more importantly give you reminders every hour to stand. But why?
Sitting is the new Smoking and your chair is out to kill you
We spend almost 80% of our working day sitting in our chairs and as a result it's no surprise that an almost equal proportion of Australians experience back pain.
The Science of Sitting vs Standing - what are the health risks & benefits?
Sitting while working
- A Danish study in 2005 of over 10,000 working adults found that sitting on the job resulted in 44% less likelihood to require hospital treatment for varicose veins
- A 2008 study showed that long uninterrupted periods of sitting can increase metabolic risk which is associated with diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
- Prolonged sitting can cause problems with blood glucose control which can contribute to the increased risk of heart disease
Standing while working
- Standing at your desk could mean that your heart beats an average of 10 beats faster per minute than sitting, resulting to an additional 50 calories burned per hour. Over a week this really adds up and you could be looking at an extra 300 to 750 calories burned. Over a year, that's the equivalent of running 10 marathons!
- Standing whilst working will reduce your risk of mortality from all possible causes. A US study found that if you were to sit for less than 3 hours each day, your life expectancy could increase by as much as 2 years from birth.
- Many workplaces have switched to standing desks and seen improvements to sleep, posture and workplace interactions
- A 1995 study said that pregnant women who had a standing job had babies with lower birth weights than babies of those who stood for two hours per day or less whilst working. In contrast, women who walked more than two hours a day had children with higher birth weights.
The best option between the two is to work with a combination of sitting and standing, this is where the height adjustable features of standing desks will really become important to you.
How the Apple Watch will increase demand for standing desks
Apple is one of the world's most recognised consumer brands, and by far one of the most influential. With a flashy new device on the wrist of millions, telling them to stand every hour, you can bet people are going to start doing it, and many employers will start asking why.
The device will make the science behind why movement is important and you shouldn't remain sedentary for more than an hour at a time. The notification system on the Apple Watch is a big step forward in the direction Apple is heading towards, fighting disease and taking big steps into the health space.
Although heart disease wasn't mentioned in the keynote, Coronary Heart Disease is the largest cause of death globally with over 7.2 million deaths every year.
With health data and more measurement readily available, it's inevitable that we will see an exponential increase in awareness, need and demand for standing desks. With that constant reminder to stand, now is the time to start your research and do a comparison of the standing desks available.
So you're convinced. Here's how to go about choosing a standing desk
There are 3 main types of standing desks to choose from
- Tabletop Standing Desks - ideal for a small office with another desk
- Height Adjustable Standing Desks - ideal for larger offices
- Fixed Standing Desks - ideal for public speaking, training computers
The best type of standing desk is an electric height adjustable model
Here are the reasons why you should buy a height adjustable standing desk instead of a fixed standing desk:
- With a height adjustable desk, if you're feeling tired, you have the option of sitting down for a while. When you have the energy again, you can raise the height and continue standing. This is actually the best for you anyway, as no health experts recommend just sitting or standing for a long period of time. It's all about regular movement to avoid the risks and make the most of the benefits.
- With a height adjustable desk you can improve your ability to stand and in turn your posture and match the height to your energy levels. Some days you may be feeling upright and tall, and others you may be on a down and want to lower the desk a little to match how you're feeling.
- The main argument for buying a height adjustable desk over a fixed height standing desk is that it's incredibly difficult to find a desk with the right fixed height for you. On top of this, it's really difficult to find a chair that will work comfortably with the height of a fixed standing desk. It's much easier to use a height adjustable desk to accommodate your current chair.
- Electric makes it much easier to lower and raise your desk, without making a huge fuss in your office. With a manual hand crank, it can be difficult to get the height right on all sides and you may end up with an imbalanced desk.
What are the most popular and best standing desk brands?
From all the media coverage on standing desks, here are the brands which are referenced the most:
- Elevate Adjusta
- New Heights
- Vert Desk
(Editor note - Stay tuned as we review each of the above brands, and more, to let you know which brands are available in Australia, their costs, and which retailers are selling them for you.)
Take a stand for your health
If you're serious about your health then you should get serious about getting a standing desk to work from. There are cheap ways to get started but it's important to start considering your health now and put the time and investment into a good quality standing desk that will transform your workstation into a healthy one.