Of all the ways that you can go chair free, using a standing desk at work is the most common. Tens of thousands of people now have access to desks that adjust between sitting and standing height. Offices are a hot bed of sitting activity – meetings, computers, conference calls – so standing desks are a much welcome option.
Although desks that adjust in height are easy enough to figure out how to use, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are using them in the optimal way. In fact, I often see people either using their standing desk in a counter-productive way or not getting the most of it. No one wants that! To avoid this fate, I’ve put together eight tips for using your standing desk like a pro. Get ready to get your standing desk on!
- Get an anti-fatigue mat for your feet. These mats provide a soft surface to stand on at your desk. They reduce the pressure on your feet – especially if you have a hard floor in your office – and prevent blood from pooling in your legs and feet. Plus, anti-fatigue mats are just super comfortable. You’ll want one for your kitchen, too!
- Ease into it. If you are used to running one mile, your body would find it very hard to suddenly run eight miles. The same is true with a standing desk. If you are used to sitting all day, ease into a sitting-standing routine. On the first few days, aim to stand at your desk for no longer than two hours total.
- Don’t be a statue. If you are standing still for more than 30 minutes, do something to move. Take a walk, do some calf raises, or sit if you need a rest. The key to a healthy workday is to avoid being in a static position – whether sitting or standing – for long periods of time and to move more.
- Try a leaning stool. These stools allow you to “perch” at your desk. Perching is a great, healthy resting position. Leaning stools help place your body at a 120-degree angle, rather than a 90-degree angle that a chair does. The more open angle improves circulation and muscle engagement compared to a chair.
- Do the twist. Standing more can reduce back pain. When you sit, we have a tendency to slouch, which places unwanted pressure on the lower spine and pelvic floor. Even when you’re standing though, you can keep your back happy by twisting your upper body slowly. For most people, a healthy back is a back that is being used.
- Treat your wrists right. Finding the right height to place your adjustable desk can be tricky. You don’t want it to be too high or wrists may feel strained on the keyboard. Many adjustable desks have a keyboard tray built in or as an add-on that can let you place the keyboard at a lower, more comfortable position.
- Avoid the lean. Leaning in may be recommended for your career, but leaning on your standing desk isn’t recommended for your health. Don’t negate the positive benefits of being on your feet by leaning with poor posture. If you feel the need to lean, then perhaps it’s time to change positions by sitting down or going for a walk.
- Track your steps with a wearable. One of the best benefits of standing at your desk is that you are more likely to move than when stuck in a chair. Motivate yourself to walk away from the desk every now and then by tracking your steps on a wearable. Compete against your co-workers to see who can walk the most in one day. Just hope that one of them doesn’t have a treadmill desk!
There you go! Simple enough but lots of people are not taking advantage of all their standing desks have to offer. Now you can with these simple tips. Try these suggestions out and let us know what works for you, what you wish you knew, and how you maximize your standing desk experience.