So you've already made the decision to buy a sit-stand desk. That's great! You've taken your first steps into a healthier future, and from now on, you will spend a portion of your workday standing instead of sitting. Now a question that many new standing desk users have is: how often should I stand? Is there a schedule I could follow?
Why Standing Occasionally Is Important
When you stand, you are using more muscles than when you sit, meaning that your body is burning more calories. But even more importantly, standing periodically throughout the day can help to reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Experts generally recommend that people stand for at least two hours a day, but ideally four or more. If you're just starting out with a sit-stand desk, it's probably best to start slowly and increase the amount of time you spend standing gradually.
How to Stand Gradually
If you're not used to standing for long periods of time, it's important to take things slowly at first. Try standing for just 10 minutes an hour, and then gradually increase the amount of time you stand each day. You could also try using a standing desk for part of the day and then sitting for the rest.
For example, you could stand for two hours in the morning and then sit for the rest of the day. Or you could stand for an hour after lunch and then sit for the rest of the afternoon.
The important thing is to listen to your body and not stand for too long if you start to feel pain or discomfort. It's also important to make sure that you have a good standing posture.
How to Stand Properly
Ideally, you should stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your weight evenly distributed on both feet. You should also keep your knees slightly bent, and your hips, shoulders, and ears in alignment. If you can, try to avoid leaning on anything while you're standing.
If you find it difficult to stand for long periods of time, you could try using a foot rest or rocking your weight from one foot to the other. You could also try an anti-fatigue matt from StandDesk, which is designed specifically to keep you comfortable during your time spent standing up.
It's also a good idea to wear comfortable shoes with good support while you're standing. If you start to experience pain in your feet, legs, or back, it's probably good to sit down for a while.
Can You Stand All Day?
There's no need to stand all day long, and in fact, it's probably not good for you to do so. Just like with anything else, moderation is key. You don't want to stand so much that you get tired or start to feel pain, but you also don't want to sit all day long either.
Be Comfortable, But Push Your Boundaries
The most comfortable option, and the one least likely to cause much discomfort, is the one you're actively avoiding: sitting down all day. It's how you probably already spent your work hours over the years, and it's what you're used to. But you've got a sit-stand desk now, probably because you know it's healthier.
While it's important to be comfortable, it's also important to challenge yourself. Standing up for part of your day is new, and it will take getting used to. Give yourself the time and room to adjust, and don't punish yourself if you take longer to get up to that sweet spot of two hours of standing a day. You'll get there on your own.