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Aug 17, 2011

Could Standing Desks Improve Cardiovascular Health

New desks that alternate from standing to sitting help combat heart disease.

The use of standing desks just might be one of the ways that adults can combat heart disease, experts say. Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time, even in combination with exercise, can significantly increase risk for heart disease, blood clots, diabetes, obesity and even early death. Standing desks can help break up the time spent sitting by allowing us to alternate from sitting to standing positions periodically. Research has shown that standing for even three minutes after sitting for 60 minutes can help reduce the effects of prolonged sitting by forcing the body to maintain its balance.

Who can use standing desks? Some companies have already begun to offer standing desks to employees, such as the Pennsylvania-based company Schell Games. Nearly one-third of their employees currently use standing desks, which can be raised or lowered at the push of a button. The drawback is that these state-of-the-art desks come at a premium, with price tags ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

But the steep cost may be worth the benefits, as the studies are starting to show. As more and more research demonstrates the serious health implications of sitting for long periods of time, the need for solutions such as standing desks, becomes apparent. And while further research is needed to fully test the effects of standing desks on cardiovascular health, it offers adults one more way to incorporate heart-healthy measures into everyday life.

Questions for You to Consider

  • Where can you buy standing desks?

  • There are a variety of companies that sell standing desks, such as GeekDesk and Relax the Back from California. Most are motorized and include or require a special adjustable chair.
  • How can I help reduce health implications of prolonged sitting without a standing desk?

  • There are many ways that adults can help break up the sedentary periods of the day, such as getting up every hour to take a quick walk or just standing in front of a desk and stretching. The act of simply switching between the standing and sitting positions throughout the day can help combat the effects of sitting all day and improve cardiovascular health.

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