It’s no surprise to us that all subjects performed significantly better on the thinking tasks after standing or walking for just ten minutes. Gaesser says that “the physical and mental arousal” that occurs when people end their seated stillness and stroll, pedal or stand up improves attention, memory and other cognitive skills.
by Lauren Chaunt, clinical social worker
Recently, I tried out a standing desk at my job. I work in a hospital assessing patients. There’s a large part of my day where I’m typing up notes based on those assessments with these patients. The setting is a unit with a short duration of stay. Thus, intake paper work needs to be completed promptly, in addition to documenting ongoing assessments & recommendations from the team with regards to treatment, as well as discharge planning. All of which require a substantial chunk of time documenting at a desk.
Although I was getting through the day sitting at “my standard desk” I often felt fatigued despite of the surplus amounts of coffee I was chugging on a fairly-consistent basis. This fatigue had even worsened following lunch as some of my coworkers similarly experienced as well, referring to this perceived experience as the “lunch coma.”
As a result of these factors, along with my own genuine curiosity, I had the urge to try out one of the standing desks my unit had available for use. These standing desks greatly resembled the other desks in the unit, however were highly raised and clearly, no seat was present. They were adjustable based on the individual’s height and preference with regards to keyboard accessibility.
For the rest of the week, I would utilize this standing desk. I had nothing to lose (other than, quite literally my seat). But hopefully a whole lot to gain!
I began using the standing desk in the morning, leading up to lunch, as well as in the afternoon following the typical lunch “coma” I had previously noted. The only times I allowed myself to sit throughout the day was during our team meeting, meeting with patients, as well as during a brief lunch.
What I noticed:
The most noteworthy difference I felt initially was a lack of fatigue in the afternoon following lunch. I did not feel tired, nor did I have the desire to take a quick nap or gulp more coffee.
Rather, I had energy. I even felt relatively revived throughout the remainder of the work day.
Due to these benefits, I decided to continue to “keep standing” quite literally and utilize this creation for the upcoming weeks.
As time progressed, I experienced even more benefits from this seemingly simple change.
My mood improved.
Not only did I feel as though I had this consistent and gradual energy that aided in my concentration throughout the work day, as well as in my productivity to show for it- I felt as though my mood was rather more euphoric.
Standing as opposed to sitting can greatly improve your physical and metabolic health- all of which can have a direct impact on your body and mind, as well as your mental health.
Arianna Huffington has always been curious about the relationship between productivity and well-being. The Huffington Post founder's latest venture, Thrive Global, and its accompanying book, Thrive, attempts to understand this connection between work and life, and she says the workplace environment is key to maintaining a balance of wellness while juggling the unpredictable elements of stress.