So you’ve taken the plunge and bought a standing desk. Good for you! But how do you adapt to standing and moving during the day after a lifetime of sitting at work?
Let’s find out:
1. Start out slow
The first piece of advice goes without saying, however many people do not ease their way into a new routine and try to overdo it from the start. So, take it easy to begin with, you do not have to stand all day to reap the health benefits of a standing desk.
In fact, it’s more beneficial to alternate between sitting and standing in the early stages, as the key to unlocking the true potential of a stand-up desk is to introduce more movement into your daily routine, not to just stand all day.
Just listen to your body and if it’s telling you that your calf muscles ache or that your feet are sore, then it’s time to take a seat. That’s fine – small steps, remember! – so just build on up over the first weeks and months and attain a level of fitness and stamina that allows you to stand for longer periods of time
2. Create an ergonomic setup
The second thing to know is that you will need to ensure your new manual or electric standing desk is ergonomically correct in its set up. And the ergonomic principles of a seated position apply equally to standing: It’s important when either sitting or standing, that your arms when bent at the elbow for tasks such as data entry keying, are parallel to the desk. When seated the adjustment needs to be made in the chair. When standing, simply elevate the desk to the correct height.
Now adjust the monitor to its ergonomically correct height. Once you’ve adjusted the desk height, stand at the desk as if you’re keying and look straight ahead at the monitor. You should be looking at the top third of the screen in your normal sitting or standing position. The screen should also be at least an arms- length away.
A monitor stand is a great accessory to have as it allows you to adjust the height, depth and angle of the screen. Monitor stands come in a wide range of styles and different price points, however a simple clamp on design is sufficient for most users. These usually attach to the back of the desk and are available to take multiple monitors.
The third tip is to consider using the best chairs, perching stools, and anti-fatigue chair mats, as well as other accessories designed specifically for standing desks.
A perching stool allows you to rest or lean back and take micro pauses, rather than reverting to a fully seated position. Again, there are many different types to choose from, but make sure it has a solid, weighted base that will not easily move or slip and become unstable.
You will benefit more from a wobble or perching stool that allows for movement, similar to a Swiss Ball. These types of stools encourage the user to act as a counterbalance, and they promote further movement–great for burning those extra calories!
People who are not used to standing for long periods of time are prone to shin splints, sore calves and swollen ankles. Therefore it’s important to utilize an anti-fatigue chair mat, particularly in the early stages of using your sit stand desk.
Anti-fatigue chair mats also provide a cushioning platform that transfers pressure away from hips, knees, ankles and feet.
A gradual increase in non-seated activity, correct ergonomic setup of your desk, and the use of accessories custom-designed for standing for prolonged periods of time, are three key tips to help ease your way into a healthier life of standing up at work.