Exercise has long been heralded as a natural way to boost mood, but did you know that the act of standing up is as effective? Already praised for improving productivity and reducing back pain, it really is not that surprising that such changes would make individuals feel happier. In addition, the studies that have verified this have been happening since well before the standing desk craze took hold, making them all the more worthwhile in regard to what we know about standing desk benefits.
The Take-a-Stand Project
Conducted from March to May in 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, researchers created the Take-a-Stand Project as a way to test what more standing would do for employees in sedentary jobs. Over this seven week period, one group received sit-stand devices while the other group, the control, did not. There were about 24 people given sit-stand devices and 10 that remained stationary. Participants were asked to record information during their days using an experience-sampling method. By the end, the results were clear that being able to stand had a significant impact. Those with the sit-stand devices reduced their time sitting by 66 minutes each day and had overall better moods. Unfortunately, these proved to be not permanent as only two weeks after the removal of the sit-stand devices, bad moods returned in full.
Standing & Treadmill Desks
Along with standing desks come those that are fervent about exercising as well with treadmills. After sifting through a wide collection of databases to gather all currently collected data on the effects of just standing versus walking on a treadmill, the data showed that both proved to be beneficial with treadmill desk offering the most physical benefits. As for standing desks, they were just as effective in turning one’s mood around, though the results did vary.
Excessive sitting as is common for those that work sedentary jobs has been linked directly to obesity, diabetes, early mortality and depression. While there have been studies looking at each one individually, this review took in all of the data to better summarize the evidence for the benefits of introducing activity-permissive workstations to offices. All studies, from those that only had two participants to those with 66, reported positive results, and most findings showed that the activity-permissive stations were great at reducing sedentary time without proving to be a detriment to work. Moods increased as well as health.
Even with so much scientific literature backing up the beneficial mood effects of standing desks, there are still words of caution. The reviews, for instance, noted that there is a lack of long studies and enormous sample sizes. They also want to see research on the sustainability of such desks to better understand what happens in the long term. Currently, though, standing desks are slowly but surely solving the problem of depression in the workplace.