Sit-stand adjustable desks offer a way to incorporate more time on our feet into the work week while keeping ergonomics in mind. The cumulative impact of sitting all day for years has been linked to a range of major health problems, from obesity to diabetes, cancer and heart attacks.
But standing too much isn’t necessarily healthy either.
“The key is moving around,” said Kait Engle, D.N.P. occupational health nurse practitioner with Marshfield Clinic Health System. “Sit-stand desks allow employees to move, which is key to being healthy.”
Movement, ergonomics improve engagement
Try not to let 30 minutes go by without movement. Make reminders or cues if you find yourself in one position over the other. This can be after a long meeting, answering the phone or after lunch.
“Simple light stretching and changing position throughout the day can improve your workday engagement, mood, and energy,” Engle said. “Sit to stand stations can be a great tool for your physical and mental health.”
Your body will cue you when to sit. If your feet are achy or you find yourself slouching, lower your desk and work on your sitting posture. “Pay attention to when you notice your focus and energy is decreasing and try changing your physical position,” Engle said. Your back, neck, and mind will thank you.”
Your posture while standing is very important, and you should avoid shifting your weight to just one leg and hyperextending your knees. This is what many people do when standing in a line.
Instead, gently sway side-to-side while standing. This allows the muscles to contract and relax, avoiding prolonged compression of the leg joints. This will also keep your lower back aligned and reduce stress on the lower back.
Our bodies were designed to move and are happiest when we avoid prolonged sitting or standing. A sit-stand workstation allows us to periodically switch positions and move frequently during our work day.
Find the right sit-stand adjustable desk
“We are all built differently, so we required appropriately sized adjustable desks. Sit-stand stations allow for more flexibility in positioning compared to standard workstations,” Engle said.
Sit-stand adjustable desks that are too small can create a risk of carpal tunnel, rounded shoulders, back pain and neck pain.
Find an adjustable height desk with a range of movement where you can properly align ergonomics to fit your needs. “Research on ergonomics continues,” Engle said. “For now, work with your management to find a workstation that supports proper body mechanics.”
It should have various points of adjustment like keyboard, monitor and writing areas to name a few.
“Try out different station types and see how your body responds. Overall, limiting sitting time will likely benefit you,” she said.
Follow this guide to successfully fine-tune your adjustable desk.