Is your sit to stand desk working for you? Some simple strategies to optimise your sit to stand desk.
We have all heard the adage Sitting is the New Smoking which highlights the negative effect of prolonged sitting on our bodies. However, for musculoskeletal health, the impact of sitting appears to be of particular significance affecting the spine, muscles and nerves. There is a growing understanding of the importance of how our incidental or everyday movements in the workplace can impact our health. There has been a strong drive across the world to challenge passive environments and reduce the time we sit at work and at home. As a physiotherapist, I get excited when I come across a product/equipment that might offer people more active possibilities and challenge the traditional passive workplace environments. In this article, I will discuss the potential of the sit to stand desk, and how to use it to improve our everyday movements in a work or home environment.
What is a sit to stand style desk?
As the name suggests a sit to stand desk is one that can move up and down to allow you to continue to work in a seated position or a sitting position and more importantly anywhere in between. There are many options now available to choose from and various models from manual lift to electronic lifting action. You can get the whole desk that moves up or one that sits on your desk and moves up from there.
Why use a sit to stand desk?
The sit-stand style desk has been designed to respond to the health issues that may be caused by too much sitting. This style of desk provides one of the solutions that give our bodies the ability to move whilst we maintain productivity. A great idea. In addition to advocating for good posture when sitting the sit to stand style desk, introduces the importance of how incidental movement in the workplace can contribute to our health. Simply understood: The best posture is the next posture. The spine, hip, and knees thrive on movement. It is what allows them to receive their nourishment. It keeps the muscles working and keeps the neural structures healthy.
Although I am in favour of the sit-stand style of desk (but don’t endorse any product directly), they need to be used well to maximise their benefits. Using the desk for body health is not simply a case of standing rather than sitting. I have seen many clients help there back by working in a standing position, but their knees, ankles, and hips were less thankful for the prolonged standing. With a good sit-stand style of desk, you have an infinite number of positions to put yourself in and this is where the sit to stand style of desk comes into its own. We want to encourage regular movement but without breaking productivity. When used well, a sit to stand style desk has the potential to increase productivity and improved health.
Six essentials to get the most of your sit to stand desk.
- Get your movement /position profile right. When you first get the desk experiment with how long you sit or stand or even explore positions in between sit and stand. Your body will help you find the best options for you. Have a timer to find the optimal time to change position.
- There is more position than just to sit or stand. The desk has an infinite number of positions between those two positions. Experiment with those. Maybe for periods of times with the knees more bent.
- Does your chair need to be changed? Often we just change the desk, but can the chair support various positions. I prefer a chair that can a regular seated and then adjusted to any position in-between. This would closely mimic a bar stool. This will give you more movement options.
- Think of using fatigue matting in the standing position. This will help reduce the pressure on the ankles and knees and hips.
- If you use a system that sits on your desk, be careful that it now hasn’t destroyed your previously good seating position. Sometimes it raises the keyboard, etc. a little too high. This will make the seating less optimal.
- Think of adding little movements like small squats when you are standing. Maybe even some gentle calf raises. This is after all about getting the most out of our bodies whilst increasing productivity.
Both intentional or planned movement is vital in overcoming back and neck problems and in improving health. A sit to stand style desk can help the integration of technology and productivity meeting the human demands of regular movement.
This article is not intended to endorse any product rather inform you in how you might optimise its use. Should you require further information please feel free to contact Ian on (07)55271071.