The past couple of years of the COVID pandemic found many work-from-homers looking to increase their daily activity levels in various ways. Being chained to a desk for long hours at a time often results in low energy usage and an increased risk of poor posture, especially when coupled with cheap, non-ergonomic chairs or poor desks.
This interest led to a rising popularity of changing things up by using a standing desk. This desk can be as simple as a static tall countertop or include motorized legs that can be extended to your preferred height.
But do these standing desks provide benefits, or are they just a fad? Our blog today talks about why standing more may be good for you, why it may not be so, and some things you could do to make sure your health is taken care of.
The Hidden Dangers Of Sitting (Too Long)
It should come as no surprise that our long hours of sedentary work or leisure are kind of bad for our health: The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that 44% of working-age Australians spend much of their work day sitting1.
Considering this lack of physical activity can lead to diseases like diabetes, cancer, dementia, stoke, and plain old obesity, it is of great importance to increase activity levels in any way.
Sitting for long periods of time can even lead to back pain and permanent misalignments of our spine. The poor posture can often compress our backs in awkward ways, and over time the discs in our spine will malform as an adaptation.
If you have any doubt about getting back pain from sitting too long, just think back on how good it felt the last time you stood up and stretched after a few hours of sitting at work!
Are Standing Desks The Solution?
Of course, a standing desk – where you literally stand to use your computer – would help your body limber up and burn more energy as you are not crouched down for often-low screens.
WebMD.com mentions that standing burns 10% more calories per hour (88 vs 80) compared to sitting. It does not sound like much, but in the course of an 8 hour workday you burn 64 calories – that’s over 300 calories a week!
The thing is, too much of a good thing can be bad. People who work mostly standing also still report back pain and soreness from standing for too long. This is especially prevalent in those who go barefoot on hard surfaces like concrete flooring.
So how does one make sure standing is overall beneficial?
How To Maximize Standing/Sitting
Move Around Every So Often
Standing without moving for long periods can lead to fatigue and cramps as your muscles don’t contract enough to keep blood flowing smoothly – blood collects in your leg veins due to inactivity. Consider setting a timer that reminds you to take a walk (or even sit) for 10 minutes of every hour.
For an even more effective routine, throw in a few minutes of stretches every hour to release tension in various parts of the body and promote good circulation. The movements also tend to increase energy and alertness so it’s a win-win for productivity and health!
Use A Fully Adjustable Desk
Try using a mouse from a too-tall or too-short chair; it is quite likely your wrist will feel uncomfortable or jammed just after a few minutes.
Using standing at a desk to work may not be the best for your posture – damage to your wrist, joints, and spine may still occur if the table is too short or tall for your height.
To counter this, you would need to use a fully-adjustable table that you can set to fit your height. Your body should feel natural and at ease when using the table. The spine should be straight without any arching, and your arms should rest comfortably on the desk with wrists level with the desk. Try to raise your screen so you are able to look forward at it – looking down at a screen for hours while standing is just as bad as sitting too long.
Some activity-enthusiasts may even use yoga balls or other exercise machines to up their activity levels while using a standing desk.
As strange as it may sound (for some) to wear shoes when you are working from home, standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time without proper footwear often leads to soreness and pain in our feet and legs.
Although it’s good to move around to reduce this strain, good footwear or an anti-fatigue mat (specially designed rubber floor mat) can keep your feet comfortable and posture good for longer periods of time. The cushioning helps keep the feet from getting too compressed and allows for better blood flow.
Ask A Professional
When it comes to learning what is best for you, nothing beats getting a professional analysis and opinion from a qualified doctor. Chiropractors in particular would be the most appropriate specialist to see to find out more about your posture and for advice on how best to use standing desks.
This is because chiropractors specialize in treating the human skeleton and muscles, with a focus on spines. Getting the right specialist for you will ensure good care and ideal solutions for any issues you may have when it comes to standing desks.
Where To Get A Professional Opinion
If you are in or around Doncaster or Armadale Australia, you would do well to approach Drs. Michael and David Black to know if standing desks are good for you. As fully licensed chiropractors with many years of experience and a keen motivation to stay updated on the latest research, you will get the best in up-to-date chiropractic care.
Their holistic approach to diagnosing problems and providing treatments will give you a great opportunity to improve your posture, musculoskeletal health, and general well-being.
Ref: 1 https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/about-physical-activity-and-exercise