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How To Use the Sit-Stand Desk Correctly?

How To Use the Sit-Stand Desk Correctly?

Now that the majority of people are aware that sedentarism is a real problem in the modern days, office workers have become more familiar with ergonomics products, and the positive impact these products can have on their health. Chairs, monitor mounts, desks, keyboards and many other ergonomic devices are allies in battling back pain, strains, and general discomfort in the workplace.

Bad working practices related to wrong postures caused by incorrect or unsuitable office furniture and equipment are not only a health problem, but a financial problem as well. According to Safe Work Australia it is estimated in $60 milion the cost of work-related injuries. The BMJ Journals has published a report about a clinical research showing that lower back pain is the world’s most usual health condition in the workplace.

The good news is there are many ergonomic pieces of equipment and furniture available in the market today, and out of all these options, the sit-stand desk is a major one in Australia. However, using one and alternating between sitting and standing positions randomly is not the way you achieve the full potential of this important tool against sedentarism. This article will describe in depth the recommendations of how the sit-stand desk should be used.


How long should you stand?

So you know that sitting 8 hours a day behind your desk, staring at a computer monitor is not healthy. However, standing hours in a row will negatively impact your health the same way, if not worse. There is a balance between standing and sitting time.

The Canadian Research Institute Callaghan, studied the impact of using a sit-stand desk in the standing position for long hours. The research found that 50% of participants developed low back pain after working in the standing position in an ergonomic sit-stand desk for two consecutive hours.

This study has found that the ideal sit versus-stand ratio is somewhere between 1:1 and 1:2. It also points out that so people can get health benefits they should stand for at least consecutive 30 minutes.

You see, the main benefit for your body is not keeping yourself either in the sitting or standing position, but it is the change of position itself. Ideally you want to keep changing positions before your body starts to be sore. Once you are in pain, it is probably too late.  

How High Should The Desk Be Adjusted?

Now that you know how long you should be standing and sitting. You need to find the correct height to adjust your sit-stand desk. This will ensure no musculoskeletal issues will develop as a result of incorrect standing posture.

Each person is different! There is no formula to easily calculate a specific adjustment depending on the height of the person. Arms, torso and leg length influence the correct adjustment for your sit-stand desk. It is just not possible to generalize this information and rely on one single formula to find the correct desk height.

The best way to find the correct desk height is to use your elbow as a guide. While standing and having your hands on the desk, your elbows should make a 90 degree angle. Another factor you should consider is that you feel comfortable in the position. Combine these two factors to find the optimal height of your desk for you.

If your elbows make an angle less than 90 degrees, or your hands are significantly above your elbows level, the desk is too high and you should lower the desk a little bit to avoid negative impact in your posture while standing.

Useful Tips

Despite the correct ways of using a sit-stand desk, there is also the smart way to get the most of your sit-stand desk. These are a few tips that can significantly help you be helpful at work.

Stand after eating - Even though you are not moving, you burn more calories while standing rather than sitting. It is a good idea to keep working standing after lunch.

Use other ergonomic products - There are so many ergonomic products in the market today. Chairs, keyboards, standing mats, monitor arms, etc. The more ergonomic products you use the better will be for your long term health.

Use the sit-stand desk - This seems obvious, but a lazy person will be excited to alternate between sitting and standing for a week, or two, then he or she will go back to old habits and be sitting all day again. Do not be that person! If you have a sit-stand desk use it! Make the most of it! In the long term you will see the benefits of it.

Contact an ergonomics specialist - It is not only about getting the right posture at work. The arms should be in a certain position, the screen should be positioned correctly, and the list goes on and on. Less pain at work means a better productivity. An ergonomic specialist will be beneficial not only for the worker, but also for the employer.
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