Modern Office Furniture

Are You Using Your Standing Desk Wrongly?

Autonomous Autonomous | Aug 21, 2017

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You’ve read sitting is the new smoking, that being sedentary will take 8 years off your life, and that swapping out your rickety office chair for a standing desk will solve all your problems. You’ve had yours for a week, and the initial smugness has worn off. Your back hurts, your toes are numb, and you’ve got the dreaded cankles.

Before you throw your hands in the air and renounce standing desks entirely, stop and consider -- maybe you’ve been using them wrongly. Do any of these sound like you?

1. You stand all day.

When you got your new standing desk, you were determined not to sit down. After all, standing is healthier than sitting right? Wrong. It’s not all or nothing and it’s certainly not a sprint. What the human body needs is variance. That means alternating between sitting and standing, shifting your body weight, and generally moving around. Invest in a good ergonomic chair so you are supported when you are at rest. You want to make sure that it supports your lower back and is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of postures. When shopping for a comfortable home or office chair, look out for tilt-tension mechanism for proper lumbar support. Your ankles will thank you!

Another essential addition to aid you in your quest for workplace wellness is dynamic sitting. No this is not pilates class so you can keep those perfectly tailored trousers on. There are a wide-range of options on the market that keep you active while you sit. You have the exercise-ball-as-chair, the treadmill desk, and more -- many of these can lack the support and in-built control needed to ensure that they are a reliable and safe choice. If the idea of dynamic sitting intrigues you, look out for seats with sloping edges that keep circulation flowing. They should come with a stable, weighted base so that a wide range of motion is possible without any fear of rolling off. Not sure what you’re looking for? Ergonomic Stools are an excellent option. They allow you to wobble so gently that mentally, you barely register the imbalance. Physically,  however, as your body tries to center itself, it engages and tones the muscles are natural to movement and key to your overall health.

However, you can’t alternate between sitting and standing if...

2. Your standing desk is not height-adjustable.

This is a common one. Humans come in a whole range of sizes and shapes and most furniture simply does not take that into account. You should be able to customize the height of any standing desk so that you are working in the safest, most optimal position for both comfort and health. You wouldn’t wear a pair of shoes 3 sizes too small no matter how orthopedic they were. The same logic applies here. Forcing yourself to use a standing desk that is not height adjustable is just as dangerous as sitting crouched all day. Look out for standing desks that can handle awide range of height modification -- most adults will fall comfortably into the range between 25 inches and 50 inches.

Your adjustable standing desk needs to both be securely built and solid enough to handle the sit-to-stand transition without sending your morning coffee straight into the heart of your state of the art desktop computer. The best standing desk is one that can support the weight of your appliances, accessories, and anything you might put on it (including your elbows), and still move with ease. Trust only a desk that has decent lifting power and a tried and tested, reliable mechanism, or you’ll be too anxious to actually use it.

Maybe you’ve avoided all these pitfalls. Maybe you already know all the tricks of the trade. So why do you still feel terrible? Well it could be something as simple as...

3. It stresses you out.

You were so excited about your new height-adjustable standing desk fixing all your problems that you were disappointed in yourself when you felt tired, or when you didn’t make so much as a dent in those last 5 lbs. You forgot that this week was crunch week and you actually came out of it remarkably well. You forgot that while standing desks burn an extra few calories and may reduce hunger, someone brought cake to the office every day this week. You’ll get there. It just takes a little more time to remodel a life than an office.

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