Correct Posture For Standing Desk
With standing desks becoming increasingly popular and many employers actively encouraging their workers who use desks to switch to one, you may already be using one yourself. If that is the case, and you are looking forward to the benefits it can provide, we have a caveat for you. If you are not using your standing desk correctly, you could be doing more harm than good to your wellbeing.
You see the mere act of using a standing desk is not enough. You need to have it set it up correctly and use it properly in order for it to provide any beneficial effects on your health. In this article, we'll explain the specifics of this and in particular, why your posture when using a standing desk is important.
Benefits of Using a Standing Desk
There are many theories, but more importantly, a fair amount of research into the benefits of using a standing desk versus sitting at a desk, especially for long periods of time.
There was a study which showed that the number of calories you burn using a standing desk is greater than a sitting desk. This obviously has implications for those who wish to reduce or control their weight and the wider health benefits of reducing body fat levels.
One of the other health benefits is the reduced stresses on the spine, and many users have reported that they have eliminated much of their lower back pain by switching to a standing desk.
Correct Positioning of Your Computer Monitor
One of the most important ways to ensure you get the most benefit from using a standing desk is to have any monitor, or monitors, you are using, at the correct height. All standing desks have height adjustment in one form or another, and it is this feature that you use to achieve this. However, before setting the height, first ensure that the distance of the monitor to you is correct. The optimum distance should be about an arm's length.
For setting the height, you want to adjust the desk up or down so that the top third of the monitor is directly in line with your eyes. If you have a monitor that can tilt, then this can be used to help prevent your neck from having to bend down towards the screen.
Correct Positioning of Your Mouse and Keyboard
If you are using a computer, other than a laptop, you are likely to use a mouse and keyboard in conjunction with it. How you position, these can also help with your posture. First, you want them at the same level rather than the mouse being on a surface above or below the height of the keyboard.
As you use them, try to keep your elbows close to your body, and your arm bent at the elbow at an angle between 90° and 120°. A great tip to minimize the amount of mouse usage is to learn the many keyboard shortcuts there are for the operating system your computer uses.
Recommended Standing Time
No matter how good your posture is, standing at a desk for long periods of time without breaks is not advised, especially if you have just recently switched from a sitting desk. Your first target should be to get to two hours of standing, with a 2-minute break to rest every 30 minutes or so. Once you are comfortable with this, four hours is your next target. Most experts say that four hours is the maximum that you should stand, even if you are taking breaks within that time period.
Maintaining Proper Posture At A Standing Desk
With the reduction of back pain and issues relating to the spine two of the most documented reasons for switching to a standing desk, it is important to note that these can only happen if the posture you have when using it is correct. One simple principle is to try to keep your body, neck, and head in vertical alignment, while at the same time ensuring that your shoulders are relaxed at all times.
Your feet should be aligned with your shoulders and therefore, be kept about your body's width apart. Bending your knees slightly will also help. To reduce the pressure on either foot, try to alternate between them in terms of which one you have your weight on. Many standing desk owners benefit from using a footrest which they elevate and rest each foot on in turn.
It is also important that you try to keep back as straight as possible while using a standing desk and avoid the temptation to lean forward or backwards as this adds strains and stresses which you want to avoid.