Now That You Have a Standing Desk, Should You Use a Balance Board with It?
To answer that question, just refer to the multitude of studies that have been published about the adverse effects of sitting all day and the many benefits that standing--and in particular, moving--offers people. The most optimal workspace scenario is having the ability to shift from sitting to standing and back again. Adding in some simple movement, such as walking to the water cooler or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can really take the benefits to the next level. Either way, experts in this field agree that to stay healthy, the best thing anyone can do is get out of that chair and stand up.
Beyond the pure health benefits, how else do you want to improve your workday? Are you looking to add more fun to your workday? Do you want to be more productive? Are you looking to burn more calories while you work? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you definitely need a balance board.
If you want to know exactly balance boards work, what kinds of balance boards are out there, or what the benefits they have? Keep reading to learn more about world’s best standing desk accessory.
What Is a Balance Board?
A balance board is essentially a health and wellness tool. They're specifically designed to encourage your body to engage in constant, subtle micro-movements as it works to maintain your balance and posture. Balance boards are often used as workout aids and also as rehabilitation tools for injuries like ankle sprains. However, their benefits go well beyond these specific needs, and more and more people are choosing to use them in their everyday life, particularly with standing desks.
What Types of Balance Boards Are There?
There are several different types of balance boards out there, each with its own unique design. Beyond that, each type of board can also have multiple styles. The most common options include rocker boards, wobble boards, and roller boards; however, you might also come across less common types, like spring-based boards, half balance balls, and basic balance pads or active standing mats. Because there are so many options, let’s take a moment to take a look at each one to see what makes them unique.
Wobble boards are a little more versatile than simple rocker boards. Typically, they have a round design with a hemispherical fulcrum that’s permanently mounted to the center of the underside. The best ones enable you to move in all directions (360 degrees of motion) rather than just two (front to back or side to side). They also require a little more balance and skill, making it a better choice for beginner to intermediate users.
Springboards are a newer design compared to the others. Rather than balance on a fulcrum, the Springboard possesses two unique aspects: a thick felt base that allows a soft cushion to stand on, and a laser-cut piece of wood that flexes as you move on it, especially if you are moving around in multiple directions while on it. The Springboard is closer to a standing mat so isn't as challenging as balance boards, and is perfect for the beginner user.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Balance Board?
1. Reduce Chronic Disease
Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, indicates that even if you are fit and regularly exercising, sitting for too long could lead to many chronic diseases and obesity. He has even published a book about it, “Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It.” Mayo Clinic published its own study conducted on more than 7,000 healthy adults between the ages of 20 to 79 years. The findings reflect a direct correlation between standing time and obesity levels: the more time an adult spends standing on his feet, the less risk of obesity he faces.
2. Increase Calorie Burn
Sedentary lifestyles lead to an accumulation of fat around our internal organs. Therefore, doctors all over the world suggest standing more than sitting for those trying to lose weight. Studies by Professor Marc Hamilton, of the University of Missouri, claim that a person’s metabolism reacts differently in standing vs. sitting positions. Just standing doubles the metabolic rate and leads to more calorie burn in individuals, whereas sitting suppresses the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down the fat and instead leads to fat storage. Dr. James Levine’s work echoes the same findings; in fact, he developed the NEAT™ Certification Program at Mayo Clinic, which measures energy expenditure (caloric burn) sitting vs. standing, and more.
3. Reduce the Chances of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases
An article in the New York Times indicates the higher likelihood of heart disease in people who spend more time sitting. According to the report, people who sit for 9 to 10 hours daily are more at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular problems even if they exercise. The article also linked sitting with heart failure, as gradually the heart gets weaker and is not able to pump enough blood through the body.
4. Reduce Back Pain
Sitting for extended hours tends to put continuous pressure on an individual’s back muscles. In fact, there is 90% more pressure when sitting as compared to standing. The sedentary lifestyle today is one of the most important reasons for the growing incidences of musculoskeletal disease.
5. Increase Productivity
According to CNN.com, researchers conducted a study for six months on some employees of a call center company. These employees were provided with a standing desk at their work. Lo and behold, the productivity of the employees rose by 23% within the very first month. Another five months saw a 53% enhanced productivity in the workers. On the other hand, the workers who were not provided with the standing desks were less productive. While a 53% increase in productivity may not be a feasible figure for some professions, a general rise in productivity seems to be assured.
6. Enhance the Quality of Life
A sedentary lifestyle is known to speed up the biological aging process in individuals. Standing desk benefits are not limited to the physical fitness of an individual but also improve mental fitness. Studies indicate fewer symptoms of stress and tiredness in individuals who do not sit for prolonged hours at the workplace. The brain is more active and alert when standing in comparison to sitting. A sharp and alert mind enhances the focus in individuals leading to better work, which, in turn, can result in higher job satisfaction and a happier individual. Less risk of diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart ailments, along with better metabolism, improves the general quality and life span for any individual.
Who Should Use a Balance Board?
So who exactly are balance boards for? To put it simply, they’re for anyone who craves movement. Athletes, students, and everyday folks have embraced the balance board as a great method for balance training, strength building, and physical and cognitive rehabilitation.
Office workers may be the ones to benefit most from the introduction of a balance board into their routine. Working on a board delivers increased movement that improves concentration and creativity, and a balance board pairs perfectly with standing desks. Companies are noting better team performance, and more productive meetings and creative planning, after introducing movement boards to the office.
Ready to Buy Your Own Balance Board?
Though balance boards are by no means a home office necessity, they are certainly beneficial to have as they help make your workday more comfortable and enjoyable. With the tremendous amount of physical and mental benefits they yield, and with so many affordable options to choose from, we heartily recommend balance boards to anyone who is interested.