Women's Health magazine says the "sitting disease" is your body's biggest enemy. And for good reason – the studies have now proven the links between sitting and heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, a variety of cancers, obesity, and an early death.
There are a bunch of reasons why you shouldn't sit for extended periods of time. First, obviously, when you're sitting you're not active. You'll burn more calories twiddling your thumbs or chewing gum than sitting still. You burn calories through activity, so the more active you are, the more calories you will burn. Over the long haul, it doesn't take that a ton of effort to burn serious calories. You burn about 50 calories per hour standing, as opposed to 0-10 burned sitting. By standing an extra four hours each day, you burn about 200 more calories than you would otherwise. Amazingly enough, 200 calories per day translates into a difference of 20 pounds at the end of the year! Everything counts, and the little activities you do really add up over time.
More insidiously, sitting causes your body's electrical activity to drop off significantly, which slows your metabolism. As a result, your insulin efficiency decreases, making you more likely to get diabetes. Your obesity risk also increases because enzymes that break down lipids and triglycerides start to disappear, dragging your HDL (good) cholesterol down with them. Physically, sitting weakens our muscles, especially in our core, butt, legs, and hips.
The worst part is that there's no way to reverse the effects through exercise. The only way to combat these detrimental effects is to sit less.
That's where a standing desk comes in. Creating a standing desk for your home or office actually isn't that hard. First, let's look at the proper setup. Your standing desk should look like this:
While you might not be interested in dropping $800 on a specialized standing desk, it's easy and cheap to convert your existing desk. To do this, buy a small platform that you can put on top of your desk when you want to stand. Any small stand or coffee table should do the trick. This IKEA Side Table is a great option (and only $8!). To create the keyboard stand you can add a shelf and brackets onto your order. A few screws later and you're all set!
There are only two things that you really have to pay attention to when you do this. First, as you can see in the picture above, the monitor height should be at eye-level. This will help you establish great posture. Second, make sure the height of the keyboard is at or slightly below your elbows. Your arms should form 90 degree angles.
Start standing while you work on the computer. It's a win-win! Burn calories and lose weight in the short run, extend your life and avoid disease in the long run.