Switching to a standing desk is an important step for your health. Americans spend an average of 12 hours a day sitting, which is linked to many negative health effects, such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and diabetes.
With a height-adjustable desk, you can swap some of those sedentary hours for time spent on your feet. Not only does standing during the workday prevent the ill-effects of a sedentary lifestyle, but standing also boosts energy and promotes productivity.
However, too much of a good thing can also be a bad thing. Sitting all day isn’t good for you, but neither is spending too much time standing stationary at your desk. Standing for too many hours at a time can cause fatigue, back strain, leg cramps, and joint pain. The good news is that with the right tools, you can avoid the side-effects of too much standing and gain the full benefits of using a standing desk at work.
These are a few of the most common mistakes people make when they first switch to a standing desk:
1. Not getting the right accessories.
A standing desk alone won’t do much to alleviate the chronic pain associated with sitting. You’ll just be swapping in one set of aches and pains for another. Standing for too long can be hard on your leg muscles and joints, and unless your computer screen is adjusted accordingly, your neck may also experience some strain and discomfort.
An anti-fatigue mat and monitor mount are essential accessories when you’re switching to a standing desk. The anti-fatigue mat alleviates the pressure on your joints, while the monitor mount lifts your screen to a height that allows your neck to rest at a comfortable angle while using your computer.
2. Using poor posture.
Even if you’re not spending too much time on your feet, standing with poor posture will increase the likelihood of back and joint pain. When people try to stand for an extended period of time without something like an anti-fatigue mat to alleviate the stress on their joints, many will start to lean and slump, putting a strain on their back muscles. Using a computer while standing can also result in poor wrist posture, leading to musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel.
3. Forgetting to sit down.
You gain the most benefit from a sit-stand desk when you cycle between sitting and standing throughout your workday. Experts recommend alternating every 30 minutes, known as the “sit-stand-switch” philosophy. However, when you get absorbed in a project, it can be surprisingly easy to forget to switch every 30 minutes. That’s why the FlexiSpot electric height-adjustable desk frame comes equipped with a sit-stand time reminder system, which alerts you when it’s time to sit down or stand back up.
4. Thinking you don’t still need to exercise.
Just as exercising the recommended 150 minutes per week (or even every day) won’t offset the negative health effects of sitting too much, using a standing desk at work also doesn’t exempt you from getting regular exercise. The ideal lifestyle for physical health and fitness includes a mixture of low-intensity “non-exercise” activities such as standing and walking, moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise and strength-training, and a healthy amount of rest.
Unless you educate yourself beforehand, you might just be swapping your old problems for new ones when you start using a standing desk. Equipping yourself with the right accessories and the a good understanding of what your body needs for maximum health and vitality will allow you to gain the most benefit from using your new sit-stand desk.