Sedentary work environments have been a growing concern for years, with reports of increased health problems associated with prolonged sitting. One solution that has gained popularity is standing desks, but how long should one stand at work?
Jake has provided a concise explanation in just 1 minute and 42 seconds, offering a “fairly complete” understanding of the issue. In this article, we will delve into the topic of standing desks and explore the optimal amount of time one should spend standing while at work.
Sitting vs Standing at Work
Effects of Sitting
Prolonged sitting can lead to a range of health issues, particularly when combined with a lack of exercise. When we sit for long periods of time, large muscles in our legs can weaken and become prone to pulls and strains. Additionally, flexor muscles in our hips can shorten, leading to hip issues. Varicose veins may also develop, which can cause blood clots or discomfort. Poor posture and hunched positions can exacerbate lower back issues, eventually damaging soft tissue and discs.
While an ergonomically designed office chair and attention to posture can help with these effects, the effects of sedentary time are generally cumulative. It is important to take breaks from sitting and move around throughout the day to prevent these issues.
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Effects of Standing
Research has shown that standing for prolonged periods, defined as over 8 hours per day without much movement, can lead to health risks such as lower back pain, leg muscle and tendon issues, and chronic venous insufficiency. Even standing in one position for a couple of hours can cause discomfort and reduce reaction times.
However, for jobs that require sitting for long periods, taking a standing break for even a minute or two can provide several benefits. It allows the heart to beat faster, improves circulation, allows movement in leg muscles and joints, releases pressure on the back, and gives the eyes a break from the monitor.
It is important to note that the material and safety of the standing desk should also be considered when choosing a standing desk. The Recken standing desk offers a strong and safe option for those looking to incorporate standing breaks into their workday routine.
So How Long Should You Stand at Work?
The ideal standing time for a person may vary, but ergonomic experts suggest standing for 5-15 minutes out of every hour when using a standing desk. One study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine recommends moving, standing, and taking breaks from sitting for at least 2 hours in an 8-hour workday. Experts suggest alternating between sitting and standing every 30 minutes or so to gain the most benefit.
Standing time includes other movements during the day, such as trips to the coffee pot or lunch table, a walk around the office or house, or a brief stretching break. A standing desk makes it easier to meet the overall goal.
Working up to standing, walking, and moving for half of an 8-hour workday might increase the benefits. It is important to note that frequent changes in position provide the most benefit.
Overall, the key is to find the right balance between sitting and standing that works best for you. By incorporating standing into your workday, you may experience increased productivity, concentration, and creativity.
Finding the Right Mix of Sitting and Standing
When it comes to developing a routine for sitting and standing, the challenge is to find the right balance. An adjustable height standing desk is key to developing that habit, as it can improve the ratio of standing to sitting and increase comfort at work, according to a review of 53 studies undertaken at the University of Pittsburgh. However, there are other ways to find the right mix for you.
Remembering to Stand
To develop the habit of standing more, some people find it useful to set a reminder on their phone. Alternatively, associating standing with certain activities like phone calls or video meetings can make it easier to incorporate. Prioritizing standing when you can will help you get into the habit of standing more.
Building up a Tolerance to Standing
Working up to your standing goal is important in the beginning. Whether your goal is 30 minutes per hour or 2 hours per day, taking breaks from standing if it becomes uncomfortable or distracting is essential. Moving, stretching, and refocusing your eyes can also help. You may find that you can stand longer if you keep your weight on the balls of your feet, with knees slightly bent to relieve hips and knees.
Features That Make Standing Easier
The most important tool to help you stand more at work is the desk itself – a height adjustable desk. The faster and easier the adjustment, the more likely you’ll continue to incorporate it into your routine. There are a variety of desks that offer powered lifting assistance to make sitting and standing second nature.
On top of that, adding an anti-fatigue mat can help make standing time more comfortable. These mats are designed to give extra cushion to stand comfortably, which keeps feet from getting tired and increases standing time. Some mats are also contoured to encourage small movements that both improve blood flow and help with leg discomfort or lower back pain.
In addition to an adjustable standing desk and anti-fatigue mat, there are other features that can make standing easier. Ergonomic office chairs, arm supports, and adjustable standing desk converters can all help improve posture and reduce discomfort. Regular breaks and physical activity, such as walking or stretching, can also help alleviate fatigue and tension.
In conclusion, finding the right mix of sitting and standing is important for overall health and comfort at work. Remembering to stand, building up a tolerance to standing, and utilizing features that make standing easier are all essential in achieving this balance.
Need proof. Watch below.
- Video/gif of Dwight from The Office stretching
- Demonstrates importance of ergonomics in the workplace
- Supported by research from University of Waterloo and University of Pittsburgh
- Findings published in British Journal of Sports Medicine