Many of us are already aware of the dangers of prolonged sitting. Sitting more than 4 hours a day can cause many adverse health effects like higher blood pressure, diabetes and even heart diseases.
Since Covid-19 has interrupted ‘business as usual’, many of us have faced lockdowns and started working from home. While remote work has brought many benefits such as improving work-life balance, saving cost and time, one negative outcome is that it takes away our opportunity to move.
Have you jumped out of bed in the morning and started working on your laptop almost right away?
The thing is, working at the office gives us the opportunity to commute to work, go out for lunch with our colleagues, attend meetings, and chit chat with colleagues at their desks or at the panty.
When we work from home, we don’t have all this opportunity to move.
We find ourselves sitting more as we work on the screen and carry out virtual meetings, all in the same location.
Why standing desks have become very popular
Science shows that even if you are someone who regularly exercises every day, this doesn’t negate the negative health effects of prolonged sitting if you spend 8 hours sitting.
One easy way to break up prolonged sitting is to use a standing desk. Using a sit-stand desk allows you to easily go from sitting to standing without causing any interruption to your work. It doesn’t have to cost a bomb as well. They range from $400 to $2000 for a budget manual to an electric branded version. Just pick one that suits your needs and budget.
Health benefits of standing desks
Here are the health benefits of standing desks:
- Less back pain: People with back pain have experienced relief when they use standing desks. Sitting puts a lot more pressure on our lower back compared to sitting. And it gets worse if you sit with a bad posture. Standing helps reduce the pressure and also loosen up muscles that tend to tighten when sitting. This is why we see many physiotherapists recommend standing desks to their patients.
- Standing burns more calories and reduces the risks of obesity: You burn 54 more calories per hour when standing compared to standing. That means you burn 162 more calories per day if you stand for 3 hours. That is equivalent to the calories you burn from more than half an hour of walking!
- Reduces risks of heart disease: A study shows that people with a sedentary lifestyle have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Improve moods and energy level: Most people doing routine work would understand this. When their backaches, they stand up or move into a new position. When you feel stressed or stucked, you get up and walk around. When you are tired from sitting, you get up and stretch. With a standing desk, it makes these easier and faster.
Different types of standing desks
There are different types of standing desks available in the market:
A full-sized standing desk
This refers to a standing desk which starts from the ground up, that gives you a lot more working space. This is suitable for those who don’t have existing desks or who are looking to upgrade their table to a standing table. This kind of standing desks could be operated manually (a hand crank) or electronically. At the touch of a button, they shift up and down. The price for this type ranges from $500 to thousands of dollars.
A standing desk converter
A standing desk converter sits on top of an existing table and transforms it into a standing desk. This is suitable for someone who doesn’t want to (or can’t) replace their existing desk. It is also a great option for someone who is looking for the flexibility to move their desk around. There are also 2 versions of this: manual and electric. An electric one like Altizen comes with memory height and an integrated monitor arm which allows you to view your screen at eye level.
How to pick a standing desk that provides you the comfort with good ergonomics
Before knowing which type of standing desk to pick from, it is important to understand ergonomics at your work desk. We will be talking about your sitting and standing postures. You should be sitting or standing in a neutral position. By this we mean:
- Eye to screen distance: your screen should be a distance away from you, usually about an arm’s length away
- Height of the screen: Your screen should be leveled to your eyes meaning you should be looking at the top half of your screen. The height of your screen should therefore adjust independently from your desk height to ensure it stays at your eye level.
- Adjustability of the screens: when your screen is adjustable, you can avoid glare from a certain angle and straining your back or shoulder when you have to view your screen from a certain position.
- Straight, in-line, and nearly parallel to the floor, hands, wrists, and forearms.
- The shoulders are relaxed and the upper arms hang on the side of the body normally.
- Elbows are bent about 90 and 120 degrees and remain close to the neck.
- If the desk height is not adjustable, the feet are completely supported by the floor or a footrest can be used.
- The back is completely protected while sitting upright or leaning back slightly with sufficient lumbar support.
- Thighs and hips are supported parallel to the floor and
- The knees, with the feet slightly forward, are around the same height as the hips.
A standing desk converter like Altizen comes with all the features that can make you comfortable when working:
- Altizen is motorized and comes with memory height. It could lift up to 15kg (2 monitors only weigh around 10kgs) quietly and very quickly.
- Screen height is independently adjusted from the work surface. That means you can always have your screens at your eye level either when sitting or standing. The screens are also adjustable: swivel, tilt, or rotate.
- It comes with the largest work surface where you can place all your ergonomic accessories (keyboard, mouse, pads) right in front of you and within reach.
- It is one of the most stable desk converters in the market. No keyboard bounce or monitor shake at any height, even at the highest position.
What else you can also do
Changing your body positions throughout the day
While maintaining good sitting and standing posture, it is equally bad to sit or stand for long periods of time. It’s recommended to switch your position every hour to avoid long exposure into a certain posture. This can be done in multiple ways below:
- Get up and do some stretches
- Take your toilet break or walk around the house
- Use a standing desk so you don’t have to leave your work behind
Don’t forget to still exercise regularly and eat well.