If you have a desk job, there are chances you tend to sit for an average of 5 hours daily. However, while this might seem comfortable, it can take a great toll on your health. This is why more people are beginning to use standing desks today. By using a standing desk, you reduce your sitting hours, which helps you cut down on your sedentary lifestyle. More importantly, your health gets better with time by just deciding to change your desk.
Lack of physical activity can lead to several health concerns. According to the World Health Organization, “Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, and anxiety.”. The WHO report also further states that about 60 to 85% of people in the world lead sedentary lifestyles.
This percentage is alarming but no less surprising, as most people tend to sit at their desks all day at work. Also, considering how much of our day time we spend at work, many workers end up using the bulk of it sitting and when they get back home, they will also sit again and then hop off to their beds. There is very little physical activity involved and to curb this, a standing desk would go a long way.
How High Should a Standing Desk Be?
The height of the standing desk you use matters. It is not just about deciding to get one but also ensuring that it is the proper height for you. Most office desks are made for the average height and not customized for you, so you might have a little trouble if you’re too tall or too short for the desk you have purchased. While considering how to use a standing desk, you must also consider how to check if it’s the right height. Some things to consider include:
1. Typing Position
You will likely spend most of your time on your desk behind a computer screen, so you want to ensure you get the typing position right. To determine if the desk is right for you, stand in front of it and try to type in an L-shape, which works for both sitting and standing. Ensure you are in a relaxed position and your keyboard is at a height that enables you to keep your elbows close to your side and at 90 degrees. If the table is not tall enough to make you type in an L-shape, you will be putting extra tension on your tendons and ligaments, which will result in pain and discomfort in the long run.
2. Eye Height
Your eyes should not be too close to or far from the monitor. There should be about 20 to 40 inches between your eyes and the computer screen. To get the correct measurement for this, stretch your arms forward and keep the screen at an arm’s length. Also, ensure that the top of the monitor is about 2 to 3 inches above your eye level. By maintaining the correct eye height, you avoid straining your neck and eyes while typing and you can also worry less about damaging your eyes from too much screen time.
While standing, it’s easy to slouch and bend your neck to work on your computer but by constantly doing that, you would be straining your neck. The point is to have a correct posture while standing and this includes looking straight ahead at your screen and not hunching your back or slouching your neck.
3. Watch Your Posture
Standing properly not only helps you to stay productive at work but also plays a huge role in your health. For example, it reduces musculoskeletal pain, especially at the neck, arms, and lower back. The kind of desk you opt for goes a long way in determining your posture while you work.
Your neck should be kept tall, with your shoulders relaxed, and your knees slightly bent. Also, ensure to keep your feet shoulder-width apart, to help you create a balance as you stand and reduce the strains on your ankle.
With a desk height that suits your height and your computer placed properly, you will worry less about maintaining the correct posture as you work. This will help a great deal even outside of work and can boost your confidence.
How to Use a Standing Desk Correctly
If you want to get maximum benefits from your standing desk, you must use it the correct way, and here are some tips to help:
1. Switch Between Sitting and Standing
While standing at work has its benefits, it can be exhausting and also comes with its risks. This is why you should create an interval between sitting and standing while you work. You can do a thirty-minute interval between both or an hour interval, as you please. More importantly, if you’ve always been sitting at work don’t immediately switch to standing for long hours. Take it in bits and gradually increase your standing time until you get used to it and can settle for an interval that works.
2. Get a Mat or Something Soft for Your Feet
Standing to extended periods can hurt your feet and make you tired and uncomfortable. To avoid this, it is always recommended to get an anti-fatigue mat or something soft to place beneath your feet. This will help you stand longer without feeling the strain. You could also wear comfortable shoes with soft soles that won’t hurt.
Not everyone using a standing desk today is using it correctly. Before you make a purchase, check the size and test it to see if it suits you. You could also take advantage of a standing desk height chart to know the proper height for you. By getting the proper height of the standing desk and using it properly, you will be on the journey to improving your healthy lifestyle and also staying productive at work.