Standing desks are becoming more common nowadays. One of the reasons why standing desks are becoming popular is because of the health benefits. However, without proper usage of your standing desk, the health benefits will fall short.
I have recently begun using an automatic standing desk and that lead me to do research into ergonomics for standing desk. In this post, I will share with you eight tips from my research into standing desk ergonomics. As a side note, I have a post about ergonomics for a sitting desk as well.
1. Alternate Between Sitting and Standing
Sitting too much is bad for your health. You end up burning fewer calories. In addition, sitting too much increases your chance of gaining weight. However, this does not mean you should be standing all day instead.
Standing still for long periods will have negative effects on your legs. In some cases, it may even cause varicose veins.
Luckily, you can prevent harm to your legs by alternating between standing and sitting. There is no concrete duration on how much you should stand and sit. It is probably easiest to listen to your body or to alternate regularly. If you are someone that gets absorbed into what they are doing consider using an application to remind you to take breaks and or alternate between standing and sitting. I am personally using Workrave for break reminders and Breaker for a reminder to alternate between sitting and standing.
When using a standing desk, you should keep your head, neck, torso, and legs approximately in line. When typing on the keyboard, your arms should be at a right angle (90 degrees). This means the table height should be at or slightly below your elbow.
3. Adjust Your Desk and Monitors
When using a standing desk, make sure to adjust the height of the table to be level with your elbow or slightly below your elbow. The desk should allow you to keep your wrist straight.
A dual monitor setup is common nowadays, so I will go into details about how you can arrange your monitors. There are two ways to arrange your monitors; one is to have both be in the center. The other is to have one monitor face you, while the other is off to the side. Which setup you pick depends on how you work. If you find yourself using both monitors equally then go with the first option.
Your monitors should also be at eye level. That means the top of your monitor is aligned to where your eyes are. It also helps to tilt the screen 10 to 20 degrees upward to prevent neck strain from looking down constantly. In addition, your monitors should not be too close to you. As a reference point, the monitors should be about one arm’s length from you.
4. Keyboard and Mouse
Place your keyboard and mouse on the same surface and at a distance that allows you to keep your elbow close to your body. When you are typing, your wrist should be straight.
5. Keep Frequently Used Items Close
Keep the items that you use frequently close to you. This one is a simple tip, but sometimes it is the most obvious of things that we forget about.
6. Take Breaks
Standing at your desk is better than sitting, but that does not mean you should not take breaks to stretch and move around. Let your eyes take a short break.
Remembering to take breaks does not come naturally for everyone. If you tend to get absorbed into what you do, a break reminder application may help. I personally use Workrave to remind myself to take a break.
7. Move Away From Standard Mouse and Keyboard
The keyboard and mouse that comes with your computer are often terrible in terms of ergonomics. The keys on the keyboard require a lot of force to type and the mouse is usually uncomfortable to hold. If you are regularly on the computer, this will quickly lead to wrist strain and even RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury).
To prevent wrist pain and RSI, you can change out your mouse and keyboard to an ergonomic one. There are many options out there and they do not break the bank. I personally use the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard and Anker wireless vertical mouse.
8. Use an Anti-Fatigue Mat
An anti-fatigue mat helps in reducing tiredness, leg discomfort and or back pain associated with standing. If you do not have an automatic standing desk, then you should strongly consider using an anti-fatigue mat. It is less of a problem if you have an automated standing desk, but an anti-fatigue mat is still beneficial.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you found this post helpful, share it with others so they can benefit too.
What are your experiences with a standing desk? Did the transition to a standing desk help improve your health?