While they are not for everyone, using a standup desk may be the best way to achieve better ergonomics in your workspace and a great way to improve your overall health. Recent studies have shown that sitting down for 6 hours or more every day may have significant negative health effects. These include higher risk of:
- Heart and cardiovascular disease
You may think that this won’t apply to you since you regularly get physical exercise, but research shows that even daily exercise doesn’t undo the negative health effects of prolonged sitting.
One of the best ways of avoiding too much sitting is by using a standup desk. A standing desk can help you stay healthier by promoting a better posture and inducing higher calorie burn.
If you are thinking of switching to a standup desk, here are a few tips that will make the transition easier.
Take it Slow
It is likely that your feet and other body parts will ache when you switch from sitting to standing all day long. This is normal and part of the transition. When you first make the switch, take some regular breaks from standing. Over time (a few days or weeks), it will become much easier and more comfortable to stand up for most of your working day.
Use a Floor Mat
An anti-fatigue floor mat helps prevent painful feet and knees, and can reduce leg fatigue.
Don’t Forget About Ergonomics
Ergonomics is as important with a standup desk as with a regular one. Make sure that your screen, keyboard and mouse are at the right height. The top of your computer screen should be just above eye-level and your arms at about a 90-degree angle when typing.
Pay Attention to Your Posture
Keep your body aligned to avoid putting excess stress on your neck, spine, knees or feet.
Make yourself as tall as possible, with your shoulders slightly pulled back, head centered over your torso and feet hip-width apart, pointing forward. Avoid overarching your back.
Experiment With Footwear
Some people do better standing barefoot, others prefer soft, well-padded running shoes. Experiment to find out what works best for you.
Avoid standing still all day long, since this may also have negative health effects (such as varicose veins). Some small body movements or stretches will help keep your muscles in good shape. Go for a walk when you are on a phone call or during breaks. You also probably want to keep taking a few sitting breaks, for example during lunch.
If you are working long hours at a desk, switching to a standup desk may improve your health and even your productivity.
A standing desk case study from Life Hacker:
And a Fast Company story on the subject: