Tips for Stand-up Workstation Users
Finally getting your hands on a stand-up desk is a very exciting time, as it is the first step to becoming a healthier you. However, using a standing desk is not as easy as you may think and in order to fully reap the benefits of your new workstation you need to understand that it is not as simple as just standing up. Too much of a good thing is bad, which is especially true in this case as standing for too long or standing improperly can cause just as much damage to your body as sitting all day. Balance and listening to your body are key essentials to make the most of your new desk. Your body should not hurt at any point and nothing should feel strained, taking proper breaks by sitting down or taking a quick walk are vital to your body and mind. Bad habits cannot be changed in a day, it takes time and commitment to make those adjustments to last a lifetime.
Standing is an art form and takes some skill, especially if you’re new to standing for long periods of time and you think it’s as easy as just getting up on your two feet, cause it’s not.
DO: Hips squared to the front, resting evenly over your feet that are hip distance apart and your lower back with a natural curve
DON’T: Stand with your hips too far forward, over extending your back
DO: Stand at a natural pose, weight distributed over your feet, firmly on the floor
DON’T: Pretend to be a flamingo and stand on one feet or rest on your elbows
DO: Toes forward, stable footing on the floor. Lightly squeeze the lower back to ensure strong stable core
DON’T: Tippy-toe or angle feet outwards, or bend your knees too much
Do it right or don’t do it at all. Stand at your new desk properly and focus on bettering yourself and not for the selfies or outward appearance of looking cool, your new posture and confidence you gain from good habits will do that for you.
Shoulder Rolls Are Your Friend
Get out of the habit of being in the typical computer posture. Computer posture is when you have your arms out, shoulders forward, neck forward and hunched back. This position does improve as you begin your journey using a standing desk as you work on the computer but it doesn’t fix it. One of the best exercises to combat and strengthen all your upper body muscles are shoulder rolls. Do them every hour just a couple of times and you will feel a difference and begin to notice yourself more aware of your posture. Follow the steps below for proper shoulder rolls.
- Move shoulders forward then up as possible
- Next roll them back as possible until shoulder blades begin to slide gently down your spine
- Hold gently for a few seconds before you release
- Repeat as needed or upto 10 repetitions and 3-4 sets
This will loosen up your head/neck/shoulders and back and reset that awful computer forward posture. Eventually, your shoulders will begin to naturally rest in a more retracted and stable position.
Go For a Short Walk Every Hour
Being immobile is the worst for your body. Be it sitting or standing for long periods of time, our body’s are meant to move. Ensure you take breaks at least once an hour to not only refresh your mind but to also wake up your joints and muscles and get oxygen into the body.Taking breaks also allows you to reset your posture and make sure you aren’t subconsciously falling back into bad habits.
Sitting Doesn’t Mean You Failed
Similar to taking breaks, when the body is asking for it, it’s ok to sit down. You shouldn’t be standing all day anyways as it puts pressure on your legs and feet and you need time to build up those muscles to support your weight. Make sure you’re taking the proper breaks but maintaining strong posture and strong core engagement. If you’re body is telling you to relax then listen and just relax into your chair and not use the computer.
If you’re over exerting and putting unnecessary stress onto any part of your body, it may be counter intuitive and may cause more harm than help, if you’re trying to force yourself to spend hours standing. Just take a breather, it will get easier, I promise.