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Standing Desks: Transform Your Wellness While You Work

By: Dr. Ryan Lee

Woman at standing deskA standing desk is a type of desk that allows you to complete work while comfortably standing up. The type of standing desk that has been the most popular lately are the height-adjustable desks. These desks allow you to switch between sitting and standing, which experts say is the most beneficial for your health.

Many people who work in an office and sit at a desk all day experience some type of back pain. This happens because when you sit for long periods of time, especially with bad posture, the muscles in your lower back tighten and can cause discomfort. Standing desks have become so popular due to the abundance of health benefits that come from using one.

The Right Way to Stand

In order to maximize the benefits from a standing desk there are certain things to keep in mind. When using the standing desk you want to make sure that your body is properly aligned. The computer should be at eye level and your elbows should form a 90 degree angle when using something on the desk like a keyboard or mouse. This should allow your body to maintain a straight line from your head and through your neck and spine.

There are also suggestions for how long you should be sitting or standing when working. It is suggested that you do both throughout the day to maximize both health and even work benefits. To start, stand for 30 minutes at a time then sit and repeat throughout the day. As you get more comfortable, make it an hour then add another hour to make it two and continue increasing as you see fit. For increased support be sure to wear comfortable shoes and even look into getting a cushioned mat. It is also important to leave your desk and take a little walk even if it’s just across the office every 30 minutes. This will allow you to get some exercise while giving your back a break.

Are Standing Desks A Good Idea

The Pros

Using a standing desk comes with a lot of health and career benefits. Those who use a standing desk burn more calories throughout the day than those who sit. Studies show that employees who stand rather than sit during their shift are more productive on a daily basis.

And of course, these desks help to ease back pain. PubMed conducted a survey and found that 32% of participants reported improvement in lower back pain after a few weeks of using the standing desk. In another study conducted by the CDC, they found that people who use a height adjustable desk to both sit and stand had reduced neck and upper back pain by 54% in just a few weeks. There are several studies that show that standing desks can dramatically reduce chronic back pain caused by prolonged sitting.

The Cons

Prolonged standing can cause pain in other parts of the body such as your legs and feet. Standing for more than six hours a day can cause blood to collect in your leg veins. The vein may then stretch to accommodate the extra blood and actually get weaker. A standing desk is not meant to replace regular exercise that people should be doing daily for 30 minutes to improve health.

The Bottom Line

The pros outweigh the cons for someone who suffers from back pain due to a job that requires you to sit for long periods daily. It is not good for your body to sit or stand too much. Ideally an adjustable desk that allows you to switch from sitting to standing works the best. This allows your back muscles to relax and stretch rather than tightening up in your chair for 8 hours. Keeping your body active can also keep your mind active, thus boosting work productivity. As long as you wear comfortable shoes, get a cushioned mat, take walks, and exercise daily, you could enjoy health and work benefits from a standing desk.

Chiropractic care can help your posture and should be a part of your wellness journey. We’re here to help keep you aligned so you can work pain-free.

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Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here. *This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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