Standing Desks Verses Sitting What's Better?

Sitting Verses Standing At Work, What Is Better For You?

Standing Verses Sitting In The Office Space

Considering staying still in any position be it sitting, standing or lying for too long isn’t considered great for your health regardless of which posture it is, then it goes with out saying that as an office worker how you structure your approach to your work day both positionally as well as activity-wise is crucial to managing your long term health. The exact approach you take with regard to using a standing desk or sitting at work (or a combination) could well depend on your risk factors towards developing any of the conditions previously mentioned in the blog. However as a musculoskeletal physiotherapists it is my perspective that generally speaking a variable height adjustable office desk is probably the best approach for the average white collar worker. As much as I see countless clients suffering symptoms that appear to be exacerbated by postural issues associated with their seated desk job, and I therefore in many I would love to eliminate a big chunk of sitting time from these individuals lives… I am also realistic, and prolonged standing in many of these individuals will come with its own postural issues and complaints and therefore a more logical plan of attack is to allow for the constant varying of working postures throughout the day.

Using a desk that is easily adjustable from a sitting to standing set up and back again allows if necessary and individual to move from a sitting to standing set up multiple times a day, constantly promoting movement, blood flow and varying the load on your soft tissues, joints and spine. Breaking up those chunks of prolonged sitting. an activity which has a body of evidence behind it suggesting it being detrimental to your long term health.

Considering A Standing Desk? Where Should You Start?

Training your self to stand all day will take time, not dissimilar to someone starting a running program where their end goal is running a marathon, they don’t start off by running 30km on day 1 of their program. The sensible runner hoping to avoid setbacks, pain and injury will slowly build up the mileage allowing their body time to adapt to the demands of running. Subsequently their tolerance to running increases and with this they can begin to increase their running loads. Exactly the same approach will need to be taken when switching from sitting all day to first using a standing desk. When starting off standing all day, you may well find your knees will hurt, you may feel the need to constantly keep adjusting your posture, your feet may start aching, or even some people find they make experience their feet going numb and tingly. All of this is clearly uncomfortable and obviously likely to be quite distracting impacting the ability to concentrate and actually perform your work roles. Starting off slowly and building up your standing tolerance beginning with bite sized amounts even 15-20 min chunks of standing dispersed throughout the day as your body adjusts over time to the change.

Ideally Alternate Sitting And Standing

These teething issues associated with starting to stand for extended periods is part of the reason why I feel an adjustable desk where moving from sitting to standing can be easily adjusted can work nicely as a preventative measure. Making postural changes before any of the above aches and pains have a chance to sink their teeth in.  Such a desk allows for switching back again throughout the day as many times as necessary and is an effective way to introduce a positive health and postural change into your work day. As mentioned previously personally I don’t believe  someone should either stand or sit all day long, variation is the spice of life. Ideally I would suggests people aim to find a happy medium, somewhere around a 1/3rd standing to 2/3rds sitting in their work day should be an achievable goal for most and a great positive step in office health.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Sitting Verses Standing At Work, What Is Best? should consult his or her general practitioner or physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.

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