How Long You Should Stand At A Standing Desk

If you work a 9 to 5 office job five days a week, you are probably tired from sitting down all the time! We sit while we are at work, then we sit in our cars to go home, and then we sit on the couch to watch some TV.

Nowadays, with the development of technology and the 40-hour work week, it seems that sitting is all we do.

To help workers combat that sedentary lifestyle, some workplaces have started purchasing standing desks for their employees.

Ideally, it would be best if you didn’t stand at a standing desk for too long because standing has been linked to health detriments like back problems and muscle fatigue. Research recommends that for every hour you spend sitting down, you should spend another hour standing up. 

If you struggle standing up for an hour straight, ergonomic specialists also recommend alternating more often between sitting and standing while generally keeping this ratio of 1:1, or no more than 2:1.

There are numerous health benefits to standing desks, and while, if misused, they may have some negative effects, this article will present you with some tips which will make you the most comfortable at your standing desk. Keep reading to learn more. 

The Health Benefits of Standing Desks

We all know that we should exercise at least a couple of times per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, some people’s schedules do not allow for rigorous exercise – this is one reason why standing desks are a great idea.

It has been shown that standing desks increase energy and can even increase workers’ productivity. At the other end of the spectrum, sitting for too long has been linked to an increase in: 

  • Chronic pain 
  • High cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

Working at a standing desk can minimize the risk for all of these conditions, especially for people who don’t have the time for an exercise routine. 

Additionally, standing desks can also decrease the risk for obesity and improve your overall mood. Standing desks are reminiscent of when your teacher would deliver a lesson outside – remember how excited you and your classmates would get?

As we get older, we may not get as excited about stuff anymore, but think of standing at work as a little treat for both your mental and physical health. 

Negative Effects of Standing Desks

Despite all the positive effects of standing desks, an excess of standing can also be harmful to the body. Jobs that require people to stand for their entire shifts (like factory workers and cashiers at certain stores) report lower productivity of their employees.

Imagine having to stand in the same spot for an entire eight hours with minimal breaks – it certainly does not sound pleasant at all! 

Standing for too long can cause: 

  • Lower back pain 
  • General discomfort 
  • Mental state deterioration 

So, as you can imagine, it is not the best idea to only stand at your standing desk. As stated above, you should target standing for no more than an hour and then sit for an hour or two – this method will guarantee that you are getting the most out of your standing desk, without any of the chronic pain. 

Tips for the Best Possible Standing Desk Experience

Many of the chronic pain problems people report having from using a standing desk are usually due to the desk’s improper positioning and use. Before you start working, you should make sure that your desk is optimized for maximum comfort.

First of all, you need to check that the desk and the monitor are at the appropriate height for you – this, of course, will vary from person to person. Still, as a general rule, you should set your standing desk at the height of your elbows so that your elbows can be in a 90-degree position to the rest of your body. 

Your screen needs to be around 25 inches away from your face, and the top of it should be at eye level. An easy way to measure the distance is to stand an arms length away.

The goal is to have your screen set up in such a way so that you don’t need to tilt your head in any direction; prolonged use of a standing desk while tilting your head can cause neck and spine damage. Your screen should also be tilted back no more than 20 degrees.

Next, you have to adjust the positions of your keyboard and mouse. You need to keep them at the same level to avoid experiencing wrist fatigue. Additionally, both of them should be in reach without you having to bend over.

Sometimes, wrist fatigue can result even if you have adjusted the keyboard and mouse positions, so we recommend purchasing a gel mouse and keyboard pad to ensure that you are the most comfortable. You can even get armrests (which attach to the desk itself) to relieve any extra pressure on your arms.

Lastly, I have already said this, but I will say it again because it is extremely important: you should alternate between sitting and standing often. Too much of one and not the other can be harmful over time, and you don’t lose anything by switching your position every half hour or every 1 hour.

You need to remember that you shouldn’t wait to feel pain in your arms or legs to sit down – it is best to sit down as a preventative measure because chronic pain is generally hard to treat. 

If you follow all of these tips, then you should be good to go!

Should You Get a Standing Desk?

You might be wondering if getting a standing desk is the right choice for you. Some companies readily purchase standing desks for their employees, but if you work from a home office like many are these days, you may not be sure if it is worth the investment.

Well, to start, standing desks are not much more expensive than regular desks. We do need to make an important distinction here – there are two types of desks that we are talking about: 

  • fixed standing desks – Fixed standing desks are not as customizable, and if you use one, you can’t adjust it to a sitting position, so you have to sit somewhere else while taking a break from standing.
  • Sit/stand desks – Sit/stand desks, however, are fully adjustable and can be turned into a sitting or a standing desk.

It is up to you which type of desk to purchase, and although sit/stand desks tend to run more expensive, they are often the better choice because they can be used for longer when you combine sitting and standing times.

Generally, if you work at a desk for more than four or five hours a day, we recommend getting a standing desk because once you start using it properly, you will experience the difference!

A Desk Riser is a Standing Desk Alternative

If the idea of a standing desk seems appealing to you, but you don’t want to part with your regular desk at your home office, then desk risers might be for you. Desk risers are functionally the same as standing desks, except they are a smaller and more flexible version, which goes on top of your regular desk. 

Here are some customer favorite desk risers:

Whether you want to go all out and buy a sit/stand standing desk or you’re trying to be more space-conscious with a desk riser, you will feel the health benefits in the long run. 

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