Although standing desks can sound a little like they’re just a passing health fad, an ever growing amount of research has proven that a sedentary lifestyle can result in damaging your body.

This issue can’t be solved by sitting down at work all day and then sweating it out at the gym later on, seeing as evidence suggests that you can’t counter the negative effects of sitting with a sudden spurt of exercise. The real answer to the problem is the incorporation of pacing, standing and other types of activity into daily life, and the easiest way to do this is by standing at your desk. Here’s a few of the main benefits that research has suggested so far.

Lower Risk of Cancer
A range of studies have found a link between long periods of sitting down and an increased risk of many types of cancer. Colon and breast cancer have been found to be heavily influenced by the amount of physical activity that someone partakes in: a study conducted in 2011 discovered that long periods of sitting down could be the annual cause of 43,000 cases of colon cancer and 49,000 cases of breast cancer in the United States. The same study found that large amounts of ovarian cancer cases(1,800), endometrial cancer cases(12,000), prostate cancer cases(30,600) and lung cancer cases (37,200) could come as a result of excessive sitting.

The mechanism that’s causing this increased cancer risk is largely unknown, but a few biomarkers have been found by scientists, including C-reactive protein, which is found in much higher quantities in those who sit down a lot. This might be tied in with the development of cancer.

Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The cardiovascular system’s been found time and time again to be badly effected by extended periods of sitting. Research that backs this idea dates back to the 1950s, when London bus conductors(a standing job) and bus drivers(a sitting job) had their rates of heart disease compared by British researchers. The bus drivers were found to go through far more heart attacks and other health issues than the conductors.
Scientists have since found that an 125% increased risk of cardiovascular disease related health problems comes about for adults that sit two or more hours a day. The related health problems include heart attacks and chest pain. Other studies have found that men who sit for over 5 hours a day and get low amounts of exercise were at a doubled risk of heart failure over those that sit for less than 2 hours daily and exercise often. Even when the amount of exercise was removed as a factor, people that sat too often were 34% more at risk of developing heart failure than those who were moving or standing.

Lower Chance of Obesity
Although research is yet to find why exactly this is the case, there’s clear involvement of the fact that you burn far less calories while sitting. Standing people burn around 50 more calories an hour over people sitting down. There’s some other metabolic factors at work here, like with sedentary muscles releasing smaller amounts of the lipoprotein lipase enzyme.

Lower Risk of Metabolic Problems And Type 2 Diabetes
The negative impacts on health from over-sitting seem to go past obesity. Extended periods of time spent sitting have been found to correlate with lowered effectiveness in the regulation of glucose levels in the blood, meaning that it’s drastically increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Most experts recommend that you split your time between sitting and standing, seeing as there’s health issues related to doing too much of either. Standing up all day can cause foot, knee or back problems. The easiest and best way to go about this is by using a tall chair that you can pull up to your desk or a desk that you can raise. Another essential tip is to ease in to the amounts of either sitting or standing that you’re doing, because you need to allow your body time to get used to the strain.