Running is a great way to get a ton of exercise whether you casually run a couple times a week or run 30 plus miles per week training for a race. A lot of runners are curious if they should be avoiding sitting for a prolonged period because of all the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Sure, running can reduce the risks associated with sitting too much, but can they eliminate those risks? This article will cover the answer to that question as well as some of the benefits that runners may experience when they decide to switch to a standing desk.
Will Running Eliminate Risk from Sitting?
While there are not any studies on the impact that running can have on the risks associated with too much sitting, there is evidence that sitting is so bad for you that a standing desk alone cannot combat the ill effects. However, running is different than just standing and provides even greater benefits.
The risks associated with sitting include heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and poor mental health. The best way to see how these can be reduced is to look at the benefits of running. First, running drastically reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Running also helps to improve mental health. Running can reduce your risk of developing symptoms associated with stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve your learning and memory. This is because of the way that running benefits brain chemicals like dopamine and endorphins.
However, even if running does reduce or even eliminate these risks, wouldn’t you want to be healthier by standing more and sitting less? Why risk the effects of sitting when there is no reason to do so? Let’s look at the ways that standing desks can help to benefit runners.
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What Are the Benefits of Standing Desks for Runners?
There are a number of good reasons for runners to use a standing desk instead of sitting all day. Among those reasons is the energy that it can provide, the injuries that it can help you avoid, and the ability to burn even more calories.
A lot of people run to maintain a healthy weight or even to lose weight. A standing desk can help with that because standing burns more calories than sitting does. In fact, the difference in calories could be significant depending on the study that you look at. One study found that standing burned 170 more calories in a day when compared with sitting for an equal amount of time. This could be close to 1000 more calories burnt in a week without hardly any effort at all!
Lower Blood Sugar
Running can be great for lowering blood sugar levels, but standing can help as well. Not only that, but higher than normal blood sugar levels could be hurting your running ability. This is because it can prevent muscle growth and make you progress slower than you should. A standing desk can help you combat this. Using a standing desk can help you prevent sugar spikes and crashes as well and may lower sugar levels up to 43 percent when compared with sitting the entire time.
Reduce Back and Neck Pain
Running can help to prevent injury and aches and pains by strengthening the muscles around your core, back, legs, and shoulders. However, you may have found that your running style can cause some back pain, especially if you run on a hard surface. This can be made worse if you sit for a prolonged period every day. Using a standing desk can reduce the pain in your back significantly and help you get back to running faster.
You may have found that you have low energy levels after taking a morning run, showering, and then sitting at work all day. A standing desk can help you increase your energy and even improve your mood. This can be highly beneficial for a couple of reasons. First, it can help you increase your productivity. Second, it may help you feel good about yourself and improve your well-being. Finally, it can help you feel motivated to do enjoyable activities or to get up and run the next day.
When we run and then sit for a prolonged period, our muscles can get tight and uncomfortable. This may even make them more prone to injury despite the fact that they are getting stronger because of your running regimen. Standing instead does not compress the muscles so that they never have the chance to tighten. In addition, you can even do exercises or stretches while you work at your standing desk which may improve your flexibility even more. The reduced tightness also means a shorter recovery time before your body is back to running shape without soreness.
Sitting in an uncomfortable office chair can lead to poor posture. This is especially true if you are sitting for a long period of time because the muscles get tired which can cause you to slouch. Running before work may exacerbate this problem because your body may already be somewhat tired. Improving your posture can improve your core strength and make for a better running posture and motion as well.
Good for the Hips
When we sit, our hip flexors tighten. This can be bad for runners because they will tighten even more after being used while you take your run. A standing desk can help to strengthen the muscles and reduce the tightness. It can also help you open up your hip flexors to a more natural position because sitting is largely unnatural for the entire body.
Tips for Runners Who Get a Standing Desk
It is important to use a standing desk correctly if you want to benefit from it. This means to use it the right amount and in a comfortable way.
The best way to use a standing desk is to use a height adjustable option and alternate between standing and sitting often. In fact, you should try to stand for 30 minutes to an hour for every hour that you sit. The more you alternate the more you move and the more you prevent risks associated with prolonged sitting and excessive standing.
As a runner, you know to wear comfortable shoes. They can prevent foot pain and even prevent shin splints and pain throughout the leg. This is because when running comfortable shoes will properly absorb the shock. However, if you plan on getting a standing desk you are likely going to be using it a lot. This can also lead to increased foot pain which can prevent you from running for a couple of days. Wear comfortable shoes. This will also help you keep your productivity high on the work that you complete because you will not be distracted by uncomfortable conditions.
If you do not have comfortable shoes that are appropriate to wear at the office, then you can also consider a standing desk mat. This can be highly beneficial by providing subtle movement while you stand while also adding comfort. This is recommended if you have a very hard surface where you plan on putting your new standing desk.
If you use a standing desk at the incorrect height, then you may develop pains and other problems. The desk should be high enough to where you can comfortably rest your forearms on top of it. This method works for sitting at the desk as well. In addition, your computer monitor should be just below eye level and a foot or a little more than a foot away from your face.
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What About IT Band Syndrome?
Runners commonly get IT Band syndrome which is when the connective tissues or l ligaments from the pelvis bone all the way to the shin bone tighten up a lot so that they rub against the thigh bone. Long distance runners are most likely to experience IT Band syndrome, but any runner may have it occur.
While standing may seem like the last thing you want to do when experiencing the pain associated with IT Band syndrome, it may actually be beneficial. Of course you do not want to stand so much as to aggravate the injury, but sitting may be worse. This is because you need to strengthen the muscles around the area.
IT Band syndrome is often the result of weak glutes. Standing may help to prevent it because you will have an increase of activity around the leg muscles. This is especially true if you do exercises or stretches while at your standing desk. You can try doing hip hitches, side leg lifts, single leg deadlifts, and other similar exercises to help improve the glute area and prevent IT Band syndrome.
Final Thoughts on Runners Using Standing Desks
A standing desk can help you effortlessly increase the time on your feet and improve upon the benefits associated with a running, active lifestyle. It can reduce your recovery time by increasing flexibility and preventing tightness. It can also help you extend your lifespan by helping with heart health and diabetes. Finally, it can help you obtain optimal productivity by helping your mental health and reducing stress. The benefits associated with running and using a standing desk can be much greater than one or the other alone.