In action

In action.

20-03-2021Vicki McLeod

It’s a fact that this last year has been tough on our bodies. Even without actually contracting coronavirus we have still had to withstand a lot of pressure, this takes its toll.

Plus if you have been trying to work from home then you will have found your home office environment could possibly have been less than optimum. We are all guilty of sitting on the sofa, bent over a laptop in a weird position, putting strain on our neck and shoulders.

Well, at least I know I am. The seven week strict lockdown of March to May 2020 left me with extremely stiff and sore shoulders and a once a week chiropractor habit.

This thankfully has now changed, I am able to move around more, and at my office I have the option to use my desk either in a sitting position or a standing position.

Why does it matter if you are sitting or standing? Sitting too much is seriously bad for your health. People who sit a lot every day have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and early death.

Additionally, sitting all the time burns very few calories, and many studies have linked it to weight gain and obesity (I am still trying to drop the kilos that I gained in the lockdown, all that sourdough bread had to go somewhere!)

Although research is still in early stages, it does appear that using a standing desk can have impressive benefits for health. It may also increase productivity.

There’s even a rumour that businesses will have to provide the option for standing desks for all of their employees... At the very least, using this type of desk can partly negate the harmful effects of sitting too much.

It takes a little bit of getting used to, but standing at your desk has many benefits which you should consider.

Standing lowers your risk of weight gain and obesity: while exercise is the most effective way to burn calories quickly, simply choosing to stand instead of sitting can also be beneficial. In fact, when compared to an afternoon of sedentary work, an equal amount of time spent standing has been shown to burn over 170 additional calories.

The idea that standing is better for heart health was first proposed in 1953. A study found that bus conductors who stood all day had half the risk of heart disease-related deaths as their colleagues in the driver’s seats.

Since then, scientists have developed a much greater understanding of the effects of sitting on heart health, with prolonged sedentary time thought to increase the risk of heart disease by up to 147%.

Harmoni at home...

Back pain is one of the most common complaints of office workers who sit all day. To determine if standing desks could improve this, several studies have been done on employees with long-term back pain.

These studies have shown that standing desks can dramatically decrease chronic back pain caused by prolonged sitting.

Standing desks appear to have a positive influence on overall well-being. In one 7-week study, participants using standing desks reported less stress and fatigue than those who remained seated the entire work day.

Additionally, 87% of those using standing desks reported increased vigor and energy throughout the day. Upon returning to their old desks, overall moods reverted to their original levels.

My work life has to be flexible and work around my home life so I still find myself in the situation where working from home is a possibility, like today.

As I write this article it is early in the morning before the school run and I am in my pyjamas. Too much information sorry, but to make my point I am also standing up! No I am not at the kitchen counter, which I tried, it makes me stoop over and hunch.

Instead I am using a Harmoni standing desk (www.harmonidesk.com) which has turned my little home work desk into a standing desk. It’s a beautifully made, and cunningly simple design from Japan but made and shipped in the EU.

From ordering to delivery was a whopping two days! What I love about this piece of equipment is that it is easy to assemble as it slots together so you don’t need any tools, and it can be packed away into a small bag and stored when you don’t need it.

It’s ideal for anyone who has to work from home occasionally, or even a home worker who doesn’t have much space and needs to be able to clear away their things from the kitchen table.

Hunched over at the sofa

The whole thing weighs 6kg and looks very elegant so it is not out of place in a home environment. There are two shelves: one for the monitor or laptop, and one for the keyboard. If you have a laptop you can fit a wireless keyboard and mouse to avoid T-Rex arms.

I am finding it very comfortable to use, my hands are resting on the shelf for typing and my screen is at eye level, perfect for ergonomics. No neck strain and written with ease. If you spend a lot of time at a computer then try it out, your health will thank you for it.

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