In most offices and homes today we are used to seeing and using sit down desks. That is why you might have been surprised the first time you see or hear about standing desks. Standing desks are designed to be used while standing. They consist of a work surface which is placed high enough on a frame so that you can work comfortably on them.
Many people might think that they are a new invention, but they have actually been used for several centuries. They have been favored by many well-known individuals such as Leonardo Da Vinci. In the past, they were used for reading or writing. Today they are still used for these purposes but are also used as a surface for your computer.
Like sit down desks, there are also a wide variety of different standing desks. They are often made with a particular task in mind. The options include desks with or in:
- Different styles
- Different features- such as drawers
- Different heights
- Even with adjustable heights
So why should you even consider using a standing desk like this one from Jason L?
Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time is linked to several health problems such as increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. This does not mean that it is sitting that necessarily causes these problems but that the lack of movement could possibly be harmful. If like most office workers you spend between 6-8 hours a day these studies might be worth looking at.
Some people believe that standing desks can help to address the possible issues caused by sitting for so long. This has led to them become more popular in recent years.
Pros and cons of using a standing desk
It is important to keep in mind that there has been no clear conclusion on the benefits and risks of standing desks. It is still being disputed whether the benefits outweigh the possible risks and whether they are really a better option than sit down desks.
Some of the possible benefits of using a standing desk instead of a sit-down desk are:
- They can help to improve your posture by improving your core strength and by making you more aware of it.
- Burning more calories. Standing can allow you to burn more calories than sitting for the same amount of time will.
- Because you burn more calories this can lead to a decreased risk of obesity and it can even help you to possibly lose weight.
- Can improve back pain after using it for several weeks.
Some of the possible cons of this type of desk are:
- Although some people find that it helps their concentration others feel that it makes it more difficult to concentrate on certain tasks.
- They can lead to foot pain. The increased time spent standing might lead to your feet hurting especially if you are not used to it or wear shoes that are less comfortable or supportive.
- Standing too long might also increase fatigue. This could be especially true if you are not used to standing for long periods of time.
So, overall the evidence is not clear on whether they are a better alternative or not but it might be worth considering and investigating. The most important aspect of moving to a standing desk might be that you actually move more. Many doctors and health professionals insist that finding a balance between time spent sitting, standing, and moving is what you should aim for.
Height of standing desk
It’s clear that standing desks have a number of possible cons but also a lot of pros. So how do you get the most out of your standing desk?
Well first, you have to choose the right desk for you. One great option to look at, is height adjustable standing desks. Like sit-down desks, one height might not work for all users. Luckily, standing desks come in a variety of heights and can even be custom made for you. However, this could still be limiting. That is where height adjustable standing desks come in.
These desks are made with parts that can move so that you can change the height of your work surface. This means that you can adjust them to a comfortable height for you.
But even more importantly, this means that you can move the desk surface so that it would be comfortable to sit at if you wish. That is why they are also called sit-stand desks. This might help to balance out the possible benefits and risks of standing desks as it allows you to not spend excessive time sitting or too much time standing.
This can also give you extra incentives to move around as you alternate between sitting and standing. The transition from sitting most of the day to standing most of the day can be very difficult and these desks can provide a way to let yourself slowly adjust to the change.
In the past, these desks were adjusted manually but now many adjustable standing desks now work electronically. This means that instead of manually adjusting the height you can use their built in electronic system to change the height by usually just pressing a few buttons. This makes it much easier to adjust and also allows you to adjust it smoothly without disturbing the items on your desk. The electronic versions are often more expensive but the increased ease of use might just be worth it.
Standing desk posture
Picking your standing desk carefully is a good start, but what’s next?
To make sure your desk is working for you, you also have to make sure you are using it in the right way and that includes thinking about your posture. We are so used to working at traditional sit down desks that it is no surprise that we may need to learn how to use this type of desk.
Physical therapists recommend that if you use a standing desk, you should maintain a healthy posture. This means that you should engage your stomach and back muscles so that you stand up straight but still comfortably. Your shoulders should not be hunched forward, but should be rolled back naturally.
The surface of a standing just should be at about elbow height. Your arms should be comfortably able to rest on the desk with your elbows in a 90 degree position. Just as with a sit down desk, you should pay attention to where your computer screen is placed. The screen should be at eye level and preferably between 51-71 cm from your face.
It can also be helpful to buy an anti-fatigue mat to stand on. These mats are reported to help reduce tiredness and strain from standing for long periods of time. You should also try to wear comfortable shoes that offers the right type of support for your feet.
As mentioned earlier, it will probably take you time to adjust to this new way of working. To make this transition easier and to avoid straining yourself you should consider easing into the change. This can be done by only spending a few minutes at a time in a standing position at your desk in the beginning. You can then gradually increase this at a pace that is comfortable for you.
If you decide to invest in this type of desk, investigate all your options. And remember that finding a balance between time spent sitting, standing and moving seems to be ideal.