When COVID-19 forced many people to work from home, they used what they already had as work surfaces. Some were lucky enough to already have a home office. Others made do with using their kitchen tables, ottomans, chairs, and boxes for desks. These alternatives worked in an emergency, but they will eventually cause potentially long-lasting pain.
If you are going to continue to work from home, having a proper desk and chair setup is important for your physical health and productivity. A standing desk might be the answer.
Benefits of a Standing Desk
A standing desk raises your entire work surface to allow you to work comfortably while standing. Today’s standing desks are large enough to accommodate multiple computer monitors, webcams, lamps, and accessories like pens and paper.
The benefits of being able to stand while you work are wide-ranging:
- Keeps you from sitting all day. Some cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health concerns have been linked to prolonged sitting.
- Improves your posture. Humans weren’t designed to sit all day. We’re meant to stand and walk and move. When we are upright more often, we can have less shoulder, back, hip, and neck pain.
- Burns more calories. Standing requires more muscles to be activated. This burns more calories. You’ll also strengthen your legs and back muscles. Standing may also help to reduce blood sugar spikes after eating.
The Downside of a Standing Desk
The biggest obvious downside of a standing desk is the cost. The price range is great but runs from $200 to more than $5,000. Cost depends on the type of desk you choose and its features. You do not have to spend in the upper range to get a quality desk.
Many studies have indeed demonstrated the dangers of sitting all day, but standing all day isn’t great for your body either. Varicose veins, back pain, and clogged arteries have all been linked to standing all day.
Get the Best of Both World in a Sit-Stand Desk
Since sitting and standing are both problematic, a combination desk that allows you to alternate between the two positions might be the right combination. Electric and manual sit-stand desks give you the freedom to choose your desk height appropriate for sitting or standing. Risers can sit on top of your standard desk, giving you the option to use it when you want to stand. Risers and adjustable desks can help you not stand or sit for too long.
How to Best Use Your Standing Desk
When you buy a new pair of shoes, you are often encouraged to break them in slowly. Wearing them all day may hurt your feet. Standing desks are similar. If you go from sitting all day to standing all day, you are setting yourself up for foot, leg, or back pain.
Start by standing for 15-minute increments throughout the workday, for a total of one hour. Gradually increase your standing time. Experiment with different time intervals to discover what works best for you.
Other tips to help you best use a standing desk include the following:
- Stand on a supportive mat.
- Roll your feet occasionally over a small ball.
- Pull in your abdominal muscles to better support your back.
- Take stretch breaks.
- Consider an ergonomic chair, keyboard, and/or mouse.
- Experiment to find the right height for standing and sitting.
- Keep your head directly over your shoulders (sitting or standing).
- Sit and stand with a tall, neutral spine.
- Create an elbow bend of about 80 degrees by placing the keyboard and mouse at about navel height.
- Set an alarm to remind you when to sit and stand
Physical Therapy Can Improve How You Feel While You Work
Our modern lifestyle can be a literal pain. Whether you are desk-bound, stand at a cash register, or deliver packages, your body can take a beating. If you are becoming more reliant on OTC pain relievers to get through your day, you will probably benefit from physical therapy.
At ProFysio Physical Therapy, we want to provide you with a long-last solution, not a temporary fix. We use a combination of physical therapies and treatments to lessen our client’s pain. Our doctors are extensively trained in treating pain and movement disorders related to muscular, skeletal, and neurological disorders.
Don’t put up with the pain any longer! Call (732) 812-5200 or use our online form to schedule a no-cost initial consultation.