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With the onset of office jobs and corporate work came the growth of jobs that involved eight hours of sitting at a desk every day. Numerous studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time can have some serious implications on your physical and mental health. While there isn’t any agreed- upon cutoff, it’s safe to say that eight hours of sitting per day isn’t doing your health any favors, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle with no physical activity outside of work as well.
That’s where the adjustable standing desk comes in. As popular and ergonomic as the adjustable standing desk is, knowing exactly how long you’re supposed to stand at your desk can be unclear. So how long should you stand at your standing desk? Read on to learn more.
While the stand-up desk became popular in the last few years, there are actually no official set guidelines for how long you should be standing at your standing workstation. The general consensus is that you should alternate between standing and sitting, but the exact ratios can vary based on who you talk to.
So, How Often Shoud I Stand Up At My Desk To Reap the Benefits? Many experts have been advising standing at your desk for periods of about 15 minutes per hour. However, others increase that to a 1:1 ratio of standing to sitting. That means that for every one hour of sitting, you should be standing for one hour. Research from a professor at the University of Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology suggests that the ideal ratio of sitting to standing is somewhere between 1:1 and 1:3. At its maximum, that equates to standing for about 45 minutes per hour during the average eight-hour workday.
This is not set in stone. Everyone has their own personal and health-based needs. It’s ultimately about striking the right balance.
Are Standing Desks Good For You? Standing desks offer a wide range of potential benefits, though research is generally mixed. Standing has been found to increase your calories burned, but the actual amount can vary from person to person. Researchers from the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that sitting burned about 80 calories per hour, while standing burned about 88 calories per hour. That can add up over the workweek, but don’t expect drastic changes to your waistline. By comparison, just some steady, low-impact physical activity such as walking burned 210 calories per hour.
The stand-up desk has also been found to increase task engagement, including greater enthusiasm, alertness, and interest in the work. However, studies have found that body position does not have any effect on reading comprehension, creativity performance, or perceptions of difficulty or effort.
Standing instead of sitting at your desk may also improve your general mood. Studies suggest an association between a sedentary lifestyle and depression and anxiety. The exact mechanisms involved still aren’t fully understood, but standing for long periods of time may help to keep mood disorders at bay.
With sitting being so demonized, it’s easy to want to just switch to a life of only standing on your feet, but the fact is, the human body is not built for all-day standing. If you were to stand on your feet an entire workday at your stand-up desk, you would likely end up feeling plenty of aches and pain in your feet, knees, legs, hips, and back.
One of the few controlled studies on sit stand workstations found that about 50 percent of participants who were asked to stand for two consecutive hours experienced lower back pain. These participants were also found to be three times more likely to experience chronic back pain later on.
Furthermore, a stand-up desk won’t necessarily change how you use (or look at) your computer screen. Staring at a computer screen for periods of eight hours, whether you’re standing up or sitting down, can still cause eye strain and headaches.
If you do decide to stand on your feet at work, make sure you get the right equipment, which should include:
While sitting all day can hurt your physical and mental health, much of the ill effects come down to living an overall sedentary lifestyle without physical activity even outside of work. Along with alternating sitting and standing at work, make sure you maintain a regular exercise regimen with high physical activity outside of work to increase blood flow and burn those extra calories.