Being sedentary or sitting for hours on end day in and day out can have numerous negative health effects, according to recent studies by the American Diabetes Association and reports in The New York Times and Macworld. If you spend a lot of hours at an office- or computer-based job, sitting at a desk may no longer seem such a good idea. Standing at a desk burns more calories and requires more energy and movement, creating a more healthy environment for the body than sitting for hours. Converting to a standing desk may feel awkward at first, but with a few adjustments you can get used to it in a short time.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Comfortable shoes
- Tall chair or stool
Wear the most comfortable shoes you can find, such as running shoes. Walk up to your standing desk and adjust the computer monitor so it is at eye-level. Place a phone book or other sturdy support underneath the monitor if you need to raise it higher, or adjust the desk's monitor shelf if it has one. If you use a laptop at the desk, set the laptop so the screen is near eye-level. Angle it back some if necessary for optimal viewing.
Shift your weight from one foot to another frequently while working to avoid leg and foot fatigue. Rest one foot on a stool or chair rang occasionally, or lean slightly against your desk from time to time. Alter your position once in a while to decrease potential foot tiredness or discomfort.
Place an anti-fatigue mat in your standing area after a day or so if your floor is not carpeted or if you need the extra support and fatigue relief a mat offers.
Take occasional sitting breaks to give your feet a rest. Use a tall stool or tall chair so it's still comfortable to sit near your desk when necessary. Walk or pace around the room for additional breaks from simply standing in one place.
Tips and warnings
- Some standing desks are also designed so a treadmill can fit underneath. A treadmill lets you burn even more calories while working at a computer.
- If you're purchasing a standing desk, look for one with an adjustable height so you can tailor it to your specific needs.
- Be mindful of how much time you spend sitting during nondesk activities as well -- The New York Times reports that spending too much time sitting can lead to increased chances of cardiovascular disease, excessive weight gain and a shortened lifespan.
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- "Macworld"; Stand While You Work; Lex Friedman; March 2010
- "The New York Times"; Stand Up While You Read This; Olivia Judson; February 2010
- "American Journal of Epidemiology"; Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Mortality; Alpa V. Patel et al; April 2010
- American Diabetes Association; Health Chair Reform; James A. Levine; July 2010