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How to use a Standing Desk effectively

There is no magic bullet or quick-fix solution that will save your body.

Standing desks seem to have become misunderstood as a panacea for improving physical health either at the office and more often in recent times, at home.

The fact is that standing is just another position, and if done for too long or in the wrong way, will create the same problems as excessively long periods of sitting.

women 5551160 640What the body needs is variety. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to change your position and move in a different way, every 20 minutes or so.

Standing desks provide a great alternative to sitting. However, it is important not to stand for too long otherwise the cumulative load on the back will increase, the supporting muscles of the spine will get tired, and the likelihood of becoming sore may increase. For this reason, a standing desk which can be adjusted in height quickly and easily is recommended. I usually suggest my clients alternate between standing and sitting every 30-40 minutes. Standing in a good posture is also essential. The screen should be at the correct level, so you don't stoop, your shoulders should be relaxed, chin not protruding. Try to keep your deep tummy muscles gently engaged, which help to provide spinal stability. If unsure, please consult with a physiotherapist.

Another excellent way to provide variety is simply to get up and walk. Even short walks of 2-3 minutes have been shown to have health benefits. Walking phone meetings are a great option. Try climb a flight of stairs whenever available. Park the car further away.

Lastly, as many of my clients know, I love my micro-workouts. Short, intense bursts of activity throughout the day, for example, knocking off 20 press-ups, some deep squats or pull-ups. I have a resistance band never far from my desk. Clients who have started a regular micro-workout regimen report feeling better physically and also more alert and creative when working.

So to sum up, your body is designed and wants to move. Standing desks are great but use them correctly. Try and find other ways to introduce regular movement to your day. Enjoy feeling better by the end of the day.

By Simon Coghlan MSc, BSc Physio, DipMedAc

Chartered Physiotherapist

Image by Standsome from Pixabay

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