Standing desks have been around for a while now, and they have just about achieved mainstream acceptance. The health benefits can’t be denied: we know now that sitting all day is absolutely terrible for you, and most people who switch to a standing desk lose weight without making any other lifestyle changes. It’s not just calorie-busting, either. Standing desks have enormous ergonomic benefits. If you’ve decided to make the change but need a little help getting started, here are eight standing desk tips to keep in mind.
1. Be thoughtful about your setup.
No two bodies are the same, and not every standing setup is going to work for you, so explore your options carefully before diving in. Desk converters are available in a wide range of styles and prices, and they are a great way to add a standing element to your existing workspace. If you’re sure that standing is the way forward forever, then it might be time to invest in an adjustable made-for purpose standing desk. Look for good adjustability: the best ones will raise themselves seamlessly at the touch of a button.
2. Consider accessories.
A standing desk is a great start, but you can make it even better. Start with a comfortable mat. It will give you support and make everything easier on your feet, knees and back. You’d be surprised what a difference it makes. Some people also appreciate a footrest.
3. Wear good shoes.
A standing desk is no place for fashion statements. If your work dress code allows it, supportive athletic shoes are the way to go. If you need to wear something dressier, make sure the shoes have good arch and ankle support, or consider adding inserts.
4. Learn how to stand.
I know what you’re thinking: you figured that one out a long time ago. Maybe, maybe not. We all have our postural peculiarities. At best, the wrong stance may mean that you’re not getting all the benefits of your standing desk, and at worst, you could be setting yourself up for strain and injury down the road. Standing desk posture really matters. Make sure your feet are in alignment, your knees are unlocked and your glutes and core muscles are gently engaged. Have a look at these working position guidelines from the US Department of Labor to find out how to stand at a standing desk.
5. Ease into it.
The whole point of a standing desk is that it makes new demands on underused muscle groups, so chances are you’re going to need to work up to long standing sessions. That’s absolutely fine and healthy. Start with short periods of 20 to 30 minutes and listen to your body before you increase your standing time.
6. You don’t have to stand all day!
Even once you’re a veteran stander, that doesn’t mean you need to spend the whole 9 to 5 on your feet. Start at your standing desk in the morning, when you’re fresh, and then move to a seated position later in the day. Not only does this give you a bit of a rest, the variety of positions is good for your body. This is also a great way to shift gears between different types of tasks. Do your demanding work early, while standing, as the actively engaged position will help your focus. When you just need to catch up on some paperwork, take a seat. A compact standing workstation in the corner of your office will give you flexibility.
7. Don’t forget to move.
There’s no need to stand stock still in one position: you’re on your feet, so take advantage of it. Fidget, bounce gently on your toes, even toss in a few squats if you dare. Roll your shoulders regularly to decrease tension, shake out your arms, hands and feet from time to time and don’t be afraid to take regular strolls around the room to keep everything loose.
8. Consider leveling up.
Love your standing desk? If you’re feeling fit and ready for the next challenge, it might be time to move on. You can literally get moving with a treadmill desk. You can gently stroll for miles every day without even trying. You’ll need a good amount of room to make it work, but the benefits are amazing.
Breaking out of your traditional office routine isn’t easy: you might end up battling sore legs and silly wisecracks for a few weeks before everyone gets used to the new situation. But taking charge of your health at work is an incredibly empowering move. Enjoy.