Google the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” and you will get results from Inc., CNN, Forbes, and nearly 20 million other web pages. It is true: sitting all day is bad for our health. Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, and muscular problems. But if sitting is as bad for you as smoking, then working at a sit-stand desk is just as good for you as yoga, Zumba Step, and eating Superfoods, organic, gluten-free, vegan, or doing a juice cleanse!
Combining sitting with standing and walking throughout the day will keep the heart pumping, blood circulating, clear out toxicity from the cells, and bring in oxygen.
To sit less and stand more, we must alter our surroundings and our practices. We sit when we drive our cars to work, at our office desks, in meetings, and as we wind down and watch some TV in the evening. Instead, we can watch TV while we walk (or run!) on the treadmill, stand on a commuter train instead of sitting in traffic, suggest standing (or walking!) meetings, and set up our workstations to easily accommodate both sitting and standing postures. Here are some ways to keep you healthy and actively sitting and standing when at your home or in your office, to fit all budgets:
Easy Sit-Stand Desk
For working at home, there are easy do-it-yourself solutions for working while standing. For example, you can set up a laptop on an ironing board. While there are pros and cons to this solution, if you are short to average height, this can work for standing postures. Ideally, you will want open space rather than cramping your leg posture when sitting. Also, make sure children or dogs don’t play “ring around the rosy” and knock over the laptop. If you put your mind to it, you will find options that support standing and sitting postures in your home or office. There are also countertops, filing cabinets, and higher window ledges that offer standing posture possibilities.
Standing Room Only
Another solution is to elevate monitors, keyboard, and mouse on boxes or crates. This is a creative way to get a standing desk and, in fact, does make a difference in alleviating the discomfort of sitting. Ideally, the keyboard and mouse need to be at the same height and even with each other for aligned torso and relaxed shoulders. Aligning the monitors to the same height and side by side will be easier for the eyes to track. Keep your primary monitor facing you, and by angling the secondary monitor slightly in your direction, you will minimize the neck movement.
Sit-Stand Desk Unit
This is the more stable option that offers both sitting and standing posture by attaching to your existing desk. Because it adjusts to above and below your desk, it places the keyboard and mouse lower than the standard desk height for sitting and raises easily when standing. This is key to getting the elbows and wrists level when typing and bringing relief to your neck and shoulders. Many people also like the shelf to use for document placement. The monitor viewing distance is fixed, but the height range is adjustable, and there are options for added height, laptops, heavier monitors, and docking stations.
Ultimate Sit-Stand Desk
This is an example of the ideal sit-stand desk. It’s easy to use because you can adjust the desk to a sit or stand position in a matter of seconds, and it comes in corner or rectangular shapes. While making this investment, be sure you get the best height range for sitting and standing – at least 24-51 inches for the most flexibility. This model has an ergo cut-out that allows you to access your desk easily. Notice the neutral body posture from head, neck, and shoulders when setting the desk to the correct standing height. Adding a document holder and an adjustable monitor arm keeps the head level. The use of the roller mouse in front of the keyboard allows for relaxed shoulder blades and reduces the right shoulder extension that creates tension and discomfort, especially for smaller framed people. The anti-fatigue mat is cushioned and allows the body to relax. Feel the “Ah…!”
12 questions to ask when working with any sit-stand setup
- Is your desk the correct height for you when sitting or standing?
- Are your arms relaxed by your sides, and is the desk height level with your elbows and wrists?
- Need the most adjustable solution? Check out this Sit-stand desk.
- Are your keyboard and mouse at the same level and close to the edge of your desk?
- Do you use a wrist rest so your wrists are not angled on the edge of the desk?
- Want the most cushion and support? See this gel wrist rest for keyboard and mouse.
- Do you have forward head tilt because you’re leaning in to view your monitor? If so, move the monitor(s) closer to you, so you can view it with your head level and move your torso closer to front edge of the desk.
- Ready for the most adjustable solution? Try this height and angle adjustable monitor arm
- Is your monitor high enough? You want your eyes to view the upper third of the screen. If you’re wearing glasses or contact lenses, 3-4” lower than that.
- Looking for the most affordable solution? Use monitor stackers in 1 and 2” height that you can combine.
- Do your legs and feet get fatigued when standing? Use an anti-fatigue mat to provide a cushion and encourage good circulation.
- Wondering which mat was voted the office favorite for comfort? It was the 1” High Heel Carpet Anti-Fatigue Mat
To your comfort and health!
About Karen Burke
Karen is the founder and president of Kare Products, specializing in active ergonomic solutions. She has 30 years experience in ergonomic product design and consulting.