Do Sit-Stand Desks Help Reduce Back Pain or Offer Other Health Benefits?

You may have seen commercials for “sit-stand” desks, where a busy office worker stands from his chair while gently lifting her workstation.  He says he has more energy and gets more done.

The question is, do these sit-stand workstations provide tangible health benefits like reducing back pain?

We turned to peer-reviewed studies that have posed similar questions and found that these workstations do, indeed, have many health benefits, including reducing chronic low back pain.

In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine found that chronic low back pain can be “improved by the introduction of a sit-stand workstation in an office environment.”

A different study out of the University of Iowa and published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicineconsidered the long-term benefits of sit-stand desks in the office setting.  The study authors concluded that “Employees with long-term access to sit-stand desks sat less and stood more compared with employees with sitting desks. These findings hold public health significance, as sit-stand desks represent a potentially sustainable approach for reducing sedentary behavior among the large, growing number of sedentary workers at increased risk for sedentariness-related pathologies.”

An Australian study concludes that sitting for one hour reduces one’s lifespan by 22 minutes, which compares to a study that shows one’s lifespan is reduced by 22 minutes by smoking two cigarettes.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking. We are sitting ourselves to death,” said James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, in an interview in with the Los Angeles Times. “The chair is out to kill us.”

Is that hyperbole?  It actually isn’t.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The installation of a sit-stand device in the context of a corporate health and well-being program was effective at increasing non-sitting time, reducing upper back and neck pain, and improving mood states. Furthermore, the removal of the sit-stand device largely negated all observed improvements within a 2- week period.”

Jason McCann, who is the CEO of VARIDESK – a leading manufacturer of adjustable height standing desks – says there is a reason why over 95% of Fortune 500 companies use his company’s products.

“When a company invests in VARIDESK, they invest in an active workspace that helps improve their employees’ health and wellbeing. When an employee can utilize a sit-stand solution at work, they are healthier and happier. Happier and healthier employees are more productive, which in turn, helps the business’s bottom line. Everyone wins.”

Sounds like it’s time to take a stand.

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