How to use a Standing Desk
Your new standing desk arrive and you are ready to take on the week. But what are you supposed to do with this new desk? At our Saratoga Springs chiropractic office, we are asked at least twice a week about standing desks. Are they good for you? Do they really make a difference? How do I set mine up?
According to a 2014 Gallop pole, the average American is working 49 hours a week, or 9.9 hours a day. Working is the ultimate endurance sport and, like any sport, if you don’t have the proper equipment you can struggle. Furthermore, if you don’t know how to use that equipment, you may be doing more harm than good. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your standing desk.
The Set Up
Setting up your desk can be a challenge but there are some simple things to keep in mind. First, your monitor should be between 18-28” from your eyes with the top 1/3 of the monitor level with your eyes. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle with your forearms resting comfortably on the desk top. The keyboard and mouse should be at a comfortable position as to not strain your wrists.
As a chiropractor, posture is the thing that hits home. Similar rules apply to standing as to sitting. We tell patients to “preserve the curve”. The spinal column is shaped like an “S”. This feature allows great movement and is important in our daily function. When fatigue sets in, the head and shoulders come forward, and the curve in the middle back (kyphosis) increases and lower back decreases. This prevents your lungs from being filled fully and decreases oxygen to the brain.
Alternate Your Position
The most problematic aspect of your 9.9 hour work day is long periods of not moving. Standing or sitting in one position causes blood to pool and muscles to get tight and weak leading to poor posture among other things. The key to success is alternating between sitting and standing. If you choose to stand, switch your foot position. Try a wider stance with your feet just wider than your shoulders. Stand with weight mostly on one leg then switch to the other or in a split stance with one leg forward and one back. We also encourage patients to get a small box they can rest their foot on.
Get an Anti-Fatigue Mat or Balance Board
Anti-fatigue mats are those memory-foam-like mats that are supposed to keep you from getting tired. The truth is, when you’re tired, your tired. The real benefit of these mats is they keep you on an unstable surface so you have to continue moving. Muscles then contract which helps blood flow. If you are looking to add a little fun in your workday, check out these balance boards. They will work on balance, posture and keep you moving.
Perhaps the most important thing is to take a break. The best thing you can do for your physical and mental health is to take small, frequent breaks. Our bodies thrive on movement and stimulation. By giving yourself what you need, you will find your days more productive and enjoyable.
A standing desk can be a life changing piece of equipment, but it will not be a magic solution. There is still effort that goes into setting up the desk and knowing how to properly use. For more information on how to set up your desk or to see if you could benefit from one, give our Saratoga Springs chiropractic office a call at (518) 584-9500.