Reading this at your desk? You may just want to stand up, if you’re not already. The verdict is in about standing desks (or other fitness desks) and it’s better than you probably thought.
If you spend a significant amount of your day at a desk, you may have heard that, while the pay may be good, there’s a serious downside: sitting for hours on end isn’t doing your health any favors. In fact, it’s downright lethal, leading to increased risks for earlier death.
Enter the “standing desk” and exercise desks like those built on top of treadmills or exercise bikes. While not a substitute for a true workout, standing or exercising while you work is a multitaskers dream come true. And it may have benefits for your brain as well as your otherwise inactive body.
That’s according to a new study that shows a connection between standing desks and improved cognitive function. The research, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, looked at how high school students performed over the course of the year when they switched to standing desks.
“[C]ontinued use of standing desks was associated with significant improvements in [the students’] executive function and working memory capabilities,” noted lead study author Ranjana Mehta, PhD, of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Texas A&M.
“Interestingly, our research showed the use of standing desks improved neurocognitive function, which is consistent with results from previous studies on school-based exercise programs,” Mehta said. “The next step would be to directly compare the neurocognitive benefits of standing desks to school-based exercise programs.”
The study is the first of its kind to link standing desks to improved brain function, and mirrors other research that’s looked at the relationship between exercise and cognitive skills. And while the research focused on younger students, there’s every reason to believe that a standing or moving desk will help older people too. So get a leg up—literally—and see how standing improves your work performance. And life in general.
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