Working out while Sitting: Seated Workstations as Effective as Standing Ones

Prolonged sitting, which is associated with ill effects and increased risk for a variety of diseases, has become an integral part of our life – at least for those of us who spend days in offices. More and more employers are trying to introduce standing desks to counteract the effects of sedentary lifestyle. However, there is a better option which can increase metabolic rate even more – seated workstations.

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The perils of prolonged sitting

Failing to stick to recommended fitness routine can lead to a variety of diseases. Prolonged sitting can have detrimental effects on your health and is considered to be a risk factor of early mortality, regardless of whether a person is suffering from serious conditions, including diabetes or cancer, or not.

Even those who manage to squeeze in a workout can fail to overcome the effects of sitting all day long by means of exercising in the morning/evening only. It does not mean that exercising is useless, it can just prove to be not enough to compensate for the hours spent hunched over your laptop. To bring more motion into your paperwork, you can opt for standing workstations – they enable you not to hunch too much, but the activities involved do not drive metabolism the way they should.

Seated workstations outperform standing

A recent research led by Craig Horswill, a professor at UIC, showed that the best known way to increase the so-called non-exercise active thermogenesis, which can help keep your metabolism busy without scheduled exercising, is to use seated workstations. Unlike their standing counterparts, seated workstations imply spontaneous activities like moving your legs to make your muscles work.

The study participants tested three different workstations. One of them was a typical desk to use which one had just to sit; the second one was a standing desk; and the third one was a desk with a special device in the form of a movable footrest. This device is available at many stores, and suspending one from the desk underside enabled the user’s feet to teeter and swing, thus providing the extra activity called NEAT. After a two-day study, in the course of which the participants worked at these desks for fifteen minutes each, and the investigators assessed how their heart and metabolic rates changed. According to them, standing desks increased the rate by seven percent, whereas seated desks with a special suspended device had the result of 17%. Besides, no adverse effects, such as having a negative impact on cognition, were seen.

It had been expected that standing desks would have proved to be more effective, but it appeared that special seated workstations are as good as standing ones or even better. Another benefit of such workstations is that they can be used by some workers who are unable to stand for a long time due to disability or illness.

The device which can be used while sitting is available at many stores, including major e-stores like Amazon, and there is a variety of models offered by different manufacturers. You can opt for a movable footrest if you do not have enough time to work out several times throughout the day, and it will be a good opportunity to burn calories without stopping working.

If you want to introduce even more physical activity to your daily office routine, you can do yoga that is suitable for offices. For example, offers a set of free programs to help you stretch, relax and exercise while working.

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