Sit to stand desks

Sit to stand desks have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Many workplaces (and even schools) are moving towards them. They have been shown to not only help with chronic back pain, but to also improve productivity and enhance cognitive development in children.

Not all sit to stand desks are created equal – you can get manual ones, electric ones and desk converters (which elevate the computer, rather than the whole desk). With a sit to stand desk, it is recommended that you alternate between sitting and standing (rather than standing or sitting for the whole day – both of which can leave you feeling sore). Therefore, it is ideal to have a desk which is easy to move up and down, if it is too difficult it is easy to get in the habit of not changing it from sitting to standing, defeating the purpose of having one.

If you are trying a standing desk for the first time, it is recommended that you “wean onto it”. You might start with standing for 10 minutes every half hour, for example. Over time, you can increase the standing duration. The reason for this is you are likely to get sore/fatigued in your feet or legs if you aren’t used to standing for such long periods of time. To help with this, it is a good idea to wear good, supportive shoes and consider getting a mat to stand on (often called anti-fatigue mats) – this is especially important if you are standing on a hard surface, such as on a concrete floor.

In terms of setting up the desk to the right height, it is very similar to setting up a sitting desk. Your elbow should be 90 degrees, standing close to the desk so you don’t need to reach for your mouse or keyboard. Your computer screen should be at eye level. When standing at the desk, make sure you have even weight through both feet – don’t lean onto one leg and definitely don’t lean on the desk. If you are getting fatigued and feel you need to do this, it’s time to sit back down again!

The current guideline for sit to stand desks is to change position every 30 minutes. Now we know this is not always practical, but think of the concept at the very least. Moving often, moving frequently, is key!

Sit to stand desks were created to reduce the amount of time we are sitting, which we know can be detrimental to our health. A sit to stand desk is one option to help with this, but it is not the answer for everyone. Other ways to reducing sitting time and move more include:

  • Standing for phone calls
  • Walk to your colleagues desk rather than calling them
  • Walking meetings
  • Going outside for lunch
  • Stand up every 30 minutes and take a quick break
  • Use the stairs, rather than the lift
  • Park the car further away or get off the tram one stop earlier

If you decide to try a standing desk, remember to give your body time to adjust. Don’t suddenly start standing all day or you will most likely get sore. If you need assistance in the setup of your sit-stand desk, or any other aches and pains, please get in touch with one of our Instinct Health physiotherapists who can help to guide you in the right direction!

Don’t forget to check out our Pilates and massage services while you’re here!

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Sit to stand desks