How To Fight Standing Desk Fatigue
At my day job, every person in the company has an adjustable standing desk, which is awesome.
Need to stretch your legs? Just touch a button and your entire desk rises. Legs getting tired? Press another button and it shrinks.
Given that sitting for too many hours a day has a terrible impact on your health, I was thrilled with this perk of employment. But standing up to work isn’t as easy as it sounds.
After an hour or so of standing, my body is practically screaming for me to sit down…why? Let’s take a look at the challenges of using a standing desk, as well as some tips for getting used to them and maximizing their benefits.
The Problem With Sitting
Unless you’re paid to do physical labor, chances are you sit at a desk most of the day. You probably sit during the commute to and from work as well, then do a fair amount of sitting while eating dinner and watching TV. Right before lying down for eight hours and repeating the whole sedentary thing over again.
The average American sits for over 50 hours a week, putting us at risk for cancer, obesity and a shortened life span, among other things.
There Are Problems With Standing, Too
Standing desks were proposed as the antidote to sitting too much at work. Standing at work has been linked to more positive mood, increased productivity, greater alertness and burning a fair amount of calories. Yup, just by standing up! Sounds great, right? Well…
What standing desk makers don’t want you to know is that there are problems with standing in one place for a long time too. After just a few hours of standing, you might notice muscle tension and fatigue in the back and legs as your body struggles to hold itself upright. After many months of standing all day, one may experience joint problems and even poor circulation from the compressive effect of gravity.
Tips For Using A Standing Desk Properly
The trick, it turns out, isn’t one or the other. Standing eight hours a day can be just as hazardous as sitting. The key is to mix things up so that your body doesn’t have the chance to lock up in one position or the other.
A desk that can go from sitting to standing and back again (like the one I’m lucky to have at work) is a good place to start. Then, keep these tips in mind to fight against fatigue.
1. Pay Attention To Your Posture
Standing up “straight” is only the half of it. Good posture involves squeezing your buttocks, engaging your ab muscles and rolling your shoulders back (see this article for a full description). This posture should be maintained whether standing or seated.
2. Vary Your Standing Position
When standing at my desk, I found myself struggling to keep both feet on the floor. My body naturally wanted to shift my weight from one leg to the other. I resisted, feeling like this was “cheating” but it’s actually a good tactic for fighting fatigue.
3. Get An Anti-Fatigue Mat
This is especially important for those standing on concrete, tile or hardwood floors. The “cushiness of an anti-fatigue mat keeps you ever-so-slightly off-balance, which makes you contract the muscles in your shins and calves…[pushing] blood back up to your core to be re-oxygenated.”
4. Choose Your Shoes Wisely
This goes without saying, but high heels, tight boots and other restrictive footwear is NOT a smart choice for standing desk users. (I’ve learned this the hard way on days when I try to dress more formally and I usually end up barefoot).
5. Remember To Stretch & Walk Around
All the standing desk time in the world won’t replace our need to actually move around during the day. We’re not meant to be STILL. Even if it’s just reaching for your toes or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, try to incorporate as much natural movement as possible.Story from Care2.com By: Beth Buczynski