Standing is the new smoking?
With so many health and environmental issues that are flowing around everyday sometimes it’s difficult to choose which one will benefit us the most.
We constantly hear how bad it is for us to sit for long periods of time – of course for me this is not a great problem although there’s always the paperwork to do as well as newsletters to write! This is a problem for so many of my clients.
Over the last few years the benefits of standing desks have been promoted but it would seem that it’s been more of a commercial promotion than a health issue. There are as many problems associated with standing for too long as there are with prolonged sitting.
Recently the journal Ergonomics published a report that standing for more than 2 hours at a time has its problems. Although creativity and problem solving improved problems with lower limbs became apparent. Swollen legs, varicose veins and the potential for deep vein thrombosis were highlighted.
Of course any job that requires standing for long periods of time may result in these issues, I know when I have many clients in one day during the Summer season, I finish the day with aching feet. Proably because I am barefoot for 10 hours.
The answer is a combination of sitting, standing and walking not replacing one activity for another (sitting to standing).
It’s probably no surprise to you that although sitting for long periods will aggravate some postural issues, standing can do the same. Low back issues brought about by poor posture need consideration. If the standing desk user cannot hold themselves in good alignment for a period of time, as they fatigue they will literally fall into their more natural posture, the result being compression for those with hyper-lordosis or pain for those with weak low back muscles – those with posterior tilts or flat backs. Then there’s the problem with neck and upper back pain using a computer, laptop or mobile phone for long periods of time. Same thing as the ball chair craze brought five years ago.
Considerations When Using a Standing Desk
- Don’t stand for more than 2 hours
- Keep your legs moving regularly – walking on the spot
- Wear Comfortable shoes – High heels are not recommended
- Set the desk up with the monitor of your computer at eye level. The desk and your elbow should be at right angles when you are standing.
Most importantly take yourself for a walk regularly. So that combination of standing, sitting and walking will give you the best results for a long work day.