So you have finally decided to sit less and stand more at work. You know all the pros and cons and the challenges you will face, which means you have to start slowly, be consistent, and let your body get accustomed to the new routine. Obviously, your goal is to get past the getting-used-to curve and go to the point where standing feels natural. This means you need to minimize any discomfort or pain. This Dual Monitors Guide entry will teach your tip-top tips to take full advantage of your standing desk and start a healthier, ergonomic and comfortable work routine.
It is completely normal to feel sore
after your first day of standing. Also, different people have different
threshold for pain. Some may get past through the pain in just a week of
standing, while some may need a couple of weeks or more to get comfortable. The
key is to teach your body slowly. This means slowly adding more minutes in
standing as days go by, until you hit the 50/50 mark (50% standing, 50%
sitting) in your daily work routine. Some
people do 75/25 (stand 75%, sit 25% throughout the day), while some go further
by using a treadmill desk.
Your only competition is yourself. Here are the tips to reduce fatigue in standing and stand longer at work.
1. Maintain Good Posture
(image from LifeHacker)
Physical therapist Dr. Kelly Starrett said, every time you stand, we need to remember two important aspects; One is to squeeze your butt muscles together, but not tuck them far that they end up under our pelvis or stick out behind too far. And two is to engage your core muscles at around 20%. Once you have these two things right, let your arms hang down by your sides naturally, roll your shoulders back so your thumbs are facing forward. This is how you maintain a good posture when standing. Also, even when sitting, it is important to keep your torso in the right position.
2. Vary your Standing Position Often
Though standing is generally better than sitting, standing in one position for extended period of time and not moving is also not good for the body. Thus, it is always good to keep moving and loosen up the tight muscles engaged in standing from time to time. “Your best position is your next position” Starret said. A footstool will make a good start to relieve some stress off your foot. A cardboard box or a stack of phone books can suffice in your first few days. Later on, as you get accustomed to standing, your feet will look for a footrest with better height. A basic folding step stool is your cheapest option (around $15) available, but if you’re looking for something more dependable, then you should check out Safco Ergonomic Industrial Adjustable Height Footstool. It’s a little pricey (around $90), but it’s a high quality product that does the job quite well.
(image from Amazon)
To vary your position, start by standing on both feet. Then, stand on one foot by lifting the other foot on your footstool. Switch foot after a few minutes. Vary your position throughout the day. Once you get used to those three basic position, add other varieties such as leaning to your desk a little, etc. The key here is to not stick from one position for extended period of time and to get moving. Rest other leg muscles as you rest the other.
3. Have an Anti-Fatigue Mat
Those who stand for hours on a concrete, wood or tile floors, even on a carpeted floor, will experience some sort of discomfort which can lead to various health problems such as foot and back aches, neck pain, up to lower limb swelling, varicose veins, and circulatory problems. Though they don’t tend to be as severe as what you get in sedentary lifestyle, they can still cause nuisance and need to be prevented if you want a healthier and pain-free day at work. This is where the importance of getting a good anti-fatigue standing mat gets into the picture. Aside from feeling good, the comfy and cushy surface of anti-fatigue mats help protect your feet from discomfort and pain by putting you slight off-balance, encouraging your lower leg muscles (calves and shins) to be engaged more in standing. The contraction pushes more blood to your muscles, promoting better blood circulation – re-oxygenated blood is then evenly distributed to muscles through the body, providing more energy. Sublime Imprint Anti-Fatigue Mat is one of the best mats you can find today. As a matter of fact, the University of Michigan’s Center for Ergonomics found out that this particular mat reduces fatigue for up to a whopping 60%.
For only around $60, it’s a great example of practicality and value as it can be used anywhere in your house, even in the kitchen.
4. Wear the Right Footwear
Your footwear will make a huge difference in both comfort and fatigue level as you work in your standing desk. Of course, it is not a good idea to stand for hours in uncomfortable shoes. This means that high-heeled shoes are out of the picture. However, going beyond specific recommendations other than this can be difficult, as we all have different shapes, sizes, types of feet and comfort requirements. Many people opt for running shoes, others work barefoot on their anti-fatigue mat, while others prefer wearing barefoot shoes. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing the right shoes. If you start to feel discomfort, change them. You may have to experiment a little bit to find what works best for you. Also, you can’t go wrong in pairing your shoes with massaging gel insoles, they provide extreme cushioning and shock absorption, keeping your feet comfortable from heel to toe.
5. Get Moving, Stretch and Exercise
As important as varying your standing position, it is also important to switch between sitting, standing and walking. Research show that prolonged sitting is bad for the human body, but so is too much standing. The key to having a standing desk is not to stand throughout the day, but to give you better freedom of movement. This is why a sit-stand desk is always superior to regular fixed-height standing desk, as it allows you to easily and conveniently shift from sitting to standing anytime you want. Sit-stand desk has the adjustability that provides the comfort and benefits of both worlds. If you have the budget, you can get yourself an adjustable chair to support you in both sitting and standing position.
Also, every now and then, you should take a little break to walk around, stretch, or do anything that will get you move from your workstation. You can walk up and down the stairs, get your coffee, have a little chat with your officemates, etc. WebMB has some great stretching and exercises you can do at your desk. The best way to stretch and/or exercise is to do it in between your work. For 9AM-5PM work for example, you can set your mobile phone’s reminder at 11AM, 2PM and 4PM. Make sure you target your legs, back, shoulders, neck and wrist as you stretch. A little stretch can go a long way for your health.
For more about standing desk and stand-up workstation tips, check out Dual Monitors Guide today!
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