The sitting disease is a problem in various industries. Many health experts emphasise the importance of moving more at work to fight its harmful health effects.
But many are asking about its proper use: how long should I stand using a standing desk?
This article aims to answer this question and hopefully educate you more about ergonomic office furniture.
Effective Standing Desk Use: How Many Minutes?
Office workers need to sit for at least 15-30 minutes every working hour while using standing desks. This habit should give them the maximum health benefits of standing.
People also have to walk and move around half of their 8-hour workday to boost health gains. You get to stretch, gain energy and clear the mind by moving around more.
Alternating between a sitting and standing position guarantees that the body can fight back high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risks. These movements can also prevent the onset of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Read further to learn more about standing desk use and its best practices.
Can I Stand All Day Using a Standing Desk?
You are not obligated to stand all day if you want to use a standing desk properly. That’s because standing for long hours also puts you at risk of the same health conditions that prolonged sitting brings.
Standing at work takes some figuring out and getting used to, though.
Applying the following best practices for appropriate standing desk use should help you get started. Follow these tips to make the transition from a sitting position to a standing one more comfortable and hassle-free.
Best Practices for Standing Desks
1. Position Your Elbows Correctly
Better body part positioning helps you adapt to a standing desk faster. Start by bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle with the wrists straight.
Your neck should be neutral as well. Adjust the level of your standing desk to keep your forearm in line with the surface of the desk.
When using a computer keyboard, your hands must hover over it with the wrists relaxed. The wrists should never be inclined up and down, too.
2. Move Around
Just because it’s called the standing desk doesn’t mean that you have to stand all day at work.
As mentioned earlier, you need to make small movements to get the most benefits this desk provides.
Moving around in your workspace is also part of your standing time count.
You can stand and stretch, make coffee or approach a colleague to talk about work.
Try dropping by at the printers, taking phone calls standing up or having your lunch outside the office, too.
3. Practice Good Posture
Bad posture affects standing time. It also makes the adjustment process rather painful. So, make sure to stand with your head back and hips upright.
Check if the height of your computer screen is parallel to your eyes. Furthermore, your eyes should be at least 20 to 28 inches away from the screen.
4. Use Footwear with Arch Support and Firm Insoles
Most offices frown at sneakers. But to stand while working, you should wear office-approved comfortable shoes with proper arch support.
The best shoes for standing desks have sufficient cushioning, too. You can also use gel foam shoe inserts or look for a pair with a firmer sole.
5. Use Anti-Fatigue Mats
To combat tiredness while standing at work, take advantage of anti-fatigue mats. These mats facilitate movement and, at the same time, provide a soft surface under the feet for extra comfort.
Is Standing 8 Hours A Day Bad For Health?
How many hours should I use my standing desk? It’s one of the many questions that consumers ask about standing desks.
A standing desk encourages office workers to break sedentary workspace habits. However, as I have said earlier, you don’t have to stand all day long while using one.
Standing for an extended period is just as bad as prolonged sitting. Prolonged standing is also bad for the heart. Like sitting for several hours, prolonged standing can lead to MSDs, back pain and lower limb fatigue as well.
Prolonged standing causes blood to accumulate in our legs. And insufficient blood circulation results in increased pressure within the veins and oxidative stress. These eventually cause higher risks of heart disease.
Is Standing For 8 Hours Bad?
Standing on your feet all day can do more harm than good. Like prolonged sitting and sedentary lifestyles, this practice increases your risks of cardiovascular diseases, MSDs, fatigue, soreness, tiredness and other health problems.
That is why people who are obligated to stand all day in their jobs – medical professionals, salespersons, hairdressers and the like – are encouraged to sit when they can.
They should also use compression socks and stockings for comfort and better circulation. Remember, anything done in excess is always bad for the health.
How Much Is Standing Too Long?
So, how many hours should I use my standing desk? Experts say standing for 4 hours or more a day is excessive.
They recommend limiting it to 2 hours per day. When using a standing desk, keep in mind that walking and moving around the office should be a part of your standing time.
What Are Some Standing Stretches to Prevent Stiffness?
Do not tire yourself while standing at work. Make your body ready for the challenge by engaging in these stretching exercises. They prime the body to make it more adaptable to standing positions.
1. Low Back Extension
Minimise back pain at work with this exercise:
- Stand up. Begin with your feet a shoulder-width apart.
- Put your hands on the lower back. Point fingers downwards.
- Stretch backward bit by bit, as far as you can, while exhaling for 3 seconds. Do not bend your knees.
- Slowly go back to a neutral standing position. Use your hands to support the lower back.
- Repeat the exercise 1-2 times.
2. Shoulder Shrug
Improve blood flow around the shoulder and trapezius with this exercise:
- Stand up. Raise your shoulders towards the ears.
- Squeeze the shoulders as hard as you can. Hold for a few seconds.
- Roll the shoulders back as you loosen. Repeat 8-10 times.
3. Neck Stretches
Remove stress from the neck by performing this exercise:
- Sit on a chair. Reach down for the side of the chair using your right hand.
- Gently pull while angling your head to the left. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
- Repeat steps on the other side.
4. Inner Thigh Stretches
Get rid of pressure and tightness in the lower parts of your body:
- Sit on a chair with your legs apart and toes out.
- Lean forward, positioning the elbows on your thighs.
- Maintain a straight back. Constrict your abdominals.
- Press forward gently using your elbows to drive down thighs.
- Hold up to 10-30 seconds.
- Repeat as often as you prefer.
5. Hip Flexor Stretches
Release your hip flexors and prevent tightness with this exercise:
- Stand up. Position your right leg at the back.
- Bend your back knee as if you are making a lunge.
- Lower the knees to stretch the front of the right hip.
- Deepen this stretch by squeezing back your glutes.
- Hold up to 10-30 seconds.
- Repeat steps on the other side.
Standing for hours is bad for your health. That is why knowing how long should I stand using a standing desk is crucial.
Alternating between a sitting and standing position is the best choice if you want a healthier workspace. Also, do not forget to apply the tips mentioned to enjoy the benefits of a standing desk.
1. What are some tips to help remind myself to move?
Remind yourself to stand or move by using an alarm or timer on your phone. You can create an Outlook reminder on your desktop computer, too. Take advantage of activity and break apps or a fitness tracker as well.
2. What are some exercises I can do with a standing desk?
You can do calf raises and stretches, hamstring curls, chest stretches, back stretches, leg extensions and squats.