We all know that standing desks are great for health and posture, right? But isn’t standing in one place all day supposed to be bad for you too? Are we even standing properly? What if we’re making things worse, oh God, what if I never learnt to stand properly!
It’s certainly true that standing too much can be bad for you, but if you do things properly you’ll be just fine.
The first thing to bear in mind if you’re thinking of converting to a standing desk is that you shouldn’t go cold turkey with the chair. Make the transition a gradual one, increasing the time you spend standing a little more each day until you can stand comfortably for several hours without any numbness or pins and needles. Listen to your body and stand when you’re feeling lethargic, sit when you’re feet ache. If your chair’s already gone and there’s no seats in reach, alternate standing on one foot at a time. You could incorporate a step stool to rest your feet on. Lean against a wall if you need to.
The next thing to think about is your setup – do you have the right standing desk for you? If you’re standing, but still hunched over your keyboard and screen, you’re only addressing half the issue of sitting. You want to be stood upright, and that might mean you need a separate keyboard so you can keep your screen at eye level, tilted at a comfortable viewing angle (20°, give or take).
Finally, the biggie: your posture. When you’re standing up straight, certain of your muscles, notably your abs and glutes, or gut and butt to the layman, should be slightly tense. If they aren’t, that’s the first sign of poor posture. Many of us stand with shoulders slumped forward, leaning slightly into the right hip, feet splayed at 10 and 2. All of these postures put strain on the back, ruining all the benefits of your standing desk.
The correct way to stand is with both your feet pointing to 12 o’clock, shoulders back, sucking in your gut and squeezing your glutes. Don’t overdo it, just slight tension that you can sustain. To compensate for the fact we normally lean into the right hip, moving the right foot forward slightly can help shift weight onto your left side. Again, alternating your feet can help keep a balance.
So, how’s your posture?