We all know that sitting all day is not healthy. The risks of sitting are well documented, with medical professionals now saying that “sitting is the new smoking.” In response to this, standing desks have been introduced into many workplaces. But does standing all day provide a significant improvement against sitting all day?
Why People Use Standing Desks at Work
It is true that sitting all day can be dangerous. Many clinical studies link too much sitting with many serious health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels and an increased risk for heart disease.
With so many proven risks linked to sitting at your desk all day, it’s no wonder that the idea of standing desks is suddenly so popular. Standing desks are said to not only increase your focus but also improve circulation and make you more mindful of how much you’re moving throughout the workday.
Most experts recommend standing up and moving around for about 15 minutes for every 45 to 60 minutes you spend sitting.
The Drawbacks of Standing Desks
While standing and adding movement to your sedentary workday can be helpful, too much of a good thing can still cause trouble. In fact, standing for too long can actually be far more harmful than sitting. This is important to keep in mind when considering standing desks for your workstation.
Research reports show that people who spend too many hours a day on their feet are prone to varicose veins, blood pooling in the legs, poor circulation and certain types of heart disease. If you are pregnant, obese or suffering from health problems that complicate standing, being on your feet for too long can be especially harmful.
What’s the answer, then, if you work a desk job that requires you to be in one place for most of your day?
How to Improve Circulation and Vein Health at Work
Instead of following the trends, you can turn to some tried-and-true tips that are good for improving circulation and your vein health.
Rather than only sitting or only standing, consider a combination of the two. Adjustable-height desks or standing desks with a taller chair are the best solutions.
You should pay attention to how you position your body as well. Aim to set your feet flat on a short stool that will elevate them about 6 inches from the ground. Make sure that your chair supports good posture, and take periodic standing breaks to encourage healthy circulation.
Stretch Regularly & Flex Your Calf Muscles
Performing light stretches throughout your day can help get you moving while promoting good circulation and oxygen flow. Standing calf raises, toe touches and flexing your calf muscles are all great ways to get the blood flowing. Better circulation also means feeling more awake and productive too.
Take Phone Calls on the Go
Whenever possible, you should take your phone calls walking. Even if you are just casually making loops around your cubicle or slowly pacing at your desk, this small amount of movement can promote weight loss and improved blood flow. It can also keep fluid from pooling in your leg and ankle region.
Compression stockings can benefit everyone, especially those whose jobs require long periods of sitting or standing. Compression stockings help to mimic the natural muscle contractions of walking, which allows for the stimulation of proper blood flow and prevents lymphedema, or leg swelling. And don’t worry. There are many professional styles that look just like the socks and hosiery you’re used to while at work.
Avoid Constrictive Clothing and High Heels
Tight clothing and high heels can cause your body to contort in subtle, unnatural ways or restrict good circulation. This can cause pain, swelling, spider veins and poor blood flow, all of which increase your chances of developing circulation or vein health issues in the future.
What About Treadmill Desks?
Treadmill desks are the next level above standing desks. If the constant movement is helpful to you, then there is no harm in using one. However, be sure to only use a treadmill desk for short periods of time. When you do use it, wear proper, supportive footwear.
A treadmill desk should not be used as a replacement for a traditional desk. Again, too much of a good thing can still be bad for you. Everything in moderation.
Have Questions or Concerns About Your Veins?
If you still have questions about venous disease treatments, or you’re concerned about your vein health, feel free to contact us. Vein Specialists of the South in Downtown Macon and Warner Robins, GA, offers comprehensive vein care, and our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be happy to consult with you and provide personalized recommendations. We also invite you to join us at one of our monthly Vein Education and Evaluation events to learn more about how you can maintain a lifestyle that supports vein health and circulatory wellness.