October 18, 2023
WHAT IS A SIT-STAND DESK?
A sit-stand desk is an adjustable workstation that can be modified to accommodate both sitting and standing. The user can work in a seated or standing position by adjusting the height of the desk with some desks offering a manual adjustment method and some an electric adjustment. Sit-stand desks are easy to adjust thanks to clever design elements that assist with adjusting the desk height. But do these standing desks actually provide any benefits for your posture and do they help with any back related issues that you might currently have. Our expert physiotherapists have been delving into this to help answer this and other questions!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A SIT-STAND DESK?
There are several benefits of using a sit-stand desk, associated with both the health and productivity of the user. The first health benefit is that it can help reduce discomfort and pain in your body. Spending many hours sitting in a chair can become very uncomfortable. This can lead to aches and pains, likely making the worker uncomfortable and irritable. It’s very easy to slip into bad habits with regards to poor posture, and these habits can lead to repetitive strain injury and other painful disorders.
Another key benefit is that a sit-stand desk encourages movement. The act of switching between the two states is movement in itself, and once you are standing, you are immediately being more active. This is extremely helpful in avoiding the issues of stiff, tense muscles that can result from sitting for long periods and having a sedentary lifestyle. It is also a good way to raise your heart rate and ensure that you are less sedentary, which can contribute to issues like obesity. Another well-documented benefit of sit-stand desks is that they can help improve energy levels. Employees who are sat in a chair all day can become lethargic and tired. Lack of energy makes people less productive, which can be detrimental to business and cause employees to be more stressed.
IS STANDING BETTER THAN SITTING AT A DESK?
There is no doubt that standing at a desk can be beneficial to your health. You burn more calories when standing, and you are more likely to move around when stood up. Increased movement and adjustment of your posture can help to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury, as long as you are working in the right posture. However, prolonged standing can also cause health risks. It does not make you immune to repetitive strain injuries, particularly if your posture is not good when you stand. This is why sit-stand desks are such a great idea – they let users get the best of both worlds, combining sitting and standing throughout the day to help promote good health at work.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU STAND AT YOUR DESK?
It is generally recommended to stand at your desk for 25% of the day, split into 15 minutes out of every hour. As previously mentioned, standing all day can cause similar problems to sitting all day, so it’s important to make the switch and use a combination of the two throughout the day. It is also recommended that you take frequent, short breaks from working to ease the strain on your joints, muscles and tendons.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT HEIGHT FOR A STANDING DESK?
You should aim to position your desk at elbow height for standing. To get this right, you should bend your arms to an L-shape so that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Then, measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of your elbow. The desk should be set at this height when you work. Sit-stand desks can be adjusted to various heights, so you should have no problem finding the right level for your needs.
The image below demonstrates how to correctly stand at a height-adjustable desk:
The below link might be of interest if you are looking for more evidence on stress, well-being and energy levels when using a sit-stand desk.https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/standing-desks-alongside-other-measures-cut-office-workers-sitting-time-by-an-hour-a-day/
Remember to make the switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. To stand at your desk for the whole day can also cause aches and pain and repetitive strain injuries.
If you are considering any workstation adjustment such as a sit to stand desk due to an injury or pain it would be beneficial to have a Workstation Assessment, also known as a DSE assessment, which Physiotherapy Matters can carry out for you. https://www.physiotherapymatters.co.uk/occupational-health/services/ergonomic-services/