How to Use a Standing Desk Correctly

January 10, 2015

Standing desks have a lot to offer in terms of health and productivity.  With that said, they must be used in combination with other methods and gradually implemented to be most effective.  The real magic is through an active and healthy lifestyle, which is unfortunately second nature to most of us.  We know what we should do.  It’s a matter of actually doing it that can be an issue.

We know that sitting all day, eating fried food, smoking or drinking are all detrimental to our health and wellness.  We know that we should get more exercise, eat more vegetables and stress less.  But knowing and doing are two very different and separate things.  Standing desks are a great way to help augment a healthy lifestyle, however, it is important to understand how to properly use one.

Is standing for 8 hours the cure for a sedentary lifestyle?

Not necessarily.  The best way to cure a sedentary lifestyle is to find a happy medium between sitting and standing.  That way your knees, feet and joints don’t get fatigued standing, but at the same time your body is more active and healthy while burning calories.  This balance creates a healthy solution that will be most helpful for well-being and happiness.

There is no way to say precisely how much you should sit and stand.  The reality is that you should do both.  If you are sitting and are starting to feel cramped or slumped, then get up.  If you are standing and you are starting to feel achy or experiencing foot pain, then sit down.  Use your own intuition and body awareness to make those decisions.  No one can tell you what feels best for you.

Risks associated with standing all day include:

  • Pain and joint issues
  • Varicose veins due to poor circulation
  • Discomfort
  • Feeling distracted by changing your posture or shifting weight all of the time

If any or all of these things are becoming an issue for you, then your standing desk isn’t helping the way that it should be, and you need to reevaluate how you use it.

Tips for Improving Health While Standing

There are accessories you can use to help avoid and pain while standing such as an anti-fatigue mat or step stool to ease the pressure off of your feet.   This will help you to be able to stand comfortably.  Another way to make sure you are comfortable while standing at your desk is to make sure that your posture is correct.  We’ll talk more about that below.  Still more, try exercising your legs or feet and be sure to sit when you feel like sitting.  You should find a routine that allows for both sitting and standing throughout the day.  You may even develop a schedule something like this:

9:00 – 9:30: Stand while reading e-mails

9:30 – 10:00: sit while attending staff meeting

10:00 – 10:30: Stand while working on presentation

10:30 – 11:00: Sit while reading over feedback of yesterday’s work

…. And so on

This rhythm will become natural and easy to you in no time and will create a lovely and healthy balance for your body and mind. Over time, the time standing can gradually increase.

Standing Desk Positioning Makes All of the Difference:

When you are standing, it is important that you have the position correct. You should ensure the following in your stance:

  • 90 degree elbow bend
  • Viewing distance from computer of about 15 to 30 inches
  • 20% monitor tilt
  • Neutral wrists
  • Eye level monitor
  • Comfortable and supportive shoes
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Shift weight periodically (a step stool or mini elliptical can be helpful for this)
  • Be sure to move so that you do not cut off circulation
  • Make a gradual transition to standing and always be sure to sit if you feel like you need to.

When adjusting to your new standing desk, be sure to do so gradually and with these tips in mind. In doing so, you can take advantage of the health benefits that come from actually living a more active work lifestyle with the use of a standing desk.

1 Comment »

  1. Nice article. I would also recommend moving and exercising legs while standing.

    Comment by juango — June 14, 2016 @ 8:26 am

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