How long should you stand at your sit-stand desk?

electric standing desk

How long should you stand at your sit-stand desk?

To sit or not to sit… that is the question.

It’s one of the those eternal debates in ergonomics circles, whether it’s better to sit or stand:

There’s been a lot of buzz around this question recently – especially with so many people suddenly shifting to working from home and triggering a run on standing desks.

Here’s our take: instead of going all-in on sitting or standing, it’s best to alternate between the two, consistently throughout your day. 

Make the most of your brand new electric sit-stand desk – read on to learn how sitting and standing work together to look after your health!

How long should you stand at an electric standing desk?

Okay, so you know that it’s a good idea to alternate between sitting and standing. But how long should you spend in either mode?

At the beginning, for every 1 to 2 hours you spend sitting, you should ideally be spending at least 1 hour standing, alternating between sitting and standing roughly every 30 minutes.

Once you’ve gotten into the habit however, you can start shifting the sitting-standing ratio until it’s 50:50, with half of your time spent on your feet and the other half in your comfy, ergonomic office chair.

That means switching every 30 minutes to an hour, working your way up towards an even split between the two.

If you want to get most out of your electric standing desk, then you have to plan how often you should alternate sitting and standing. After all, standing for prolonged periods of hours is also bad for you… just in different ways.

The risks of standing for too long 

We’ve talked about the hazards of spending too much time seated and inactive. You probably already know these risks – that’s why you’re here, after all.

What you may not have known is that standing for too long comes with its own risks too!

One common question that users of electric standing desks like to ask is, “is it ok to stand all day?” – to which the answer is “no!”

Sitting is the new smoking, true – however, spending all day standing isn’t much of an alternative, and can end up putting your health at risk thanks to other conditions such as…

Increased muscle tension

There’s no doubt in saying that standing desks can cause great benefits in your health. 

However, too much standing can cause discomfort and pain in your lower back, legs, and feet.

You might find it so painful and tiring to stand for prolonged hours that you have to default back to sitting!

Many first-timers experience tension as a result of spending all day on their feet. In particular, they carry a lot of tension in their legs, feet and in their lower back.

It makes sense – you’re using these muscles a lot more than you normally do. If they aren’t used to it, then of course they’re going to feel quite uncomfortable!

And that in turn can lead to issues like tension, strain and even muscle cramps. 

Increases the risk of heart disease 

Spending more time on your feet can reduce your risk of heart disease

Overdo it however, and it loops all the way back around!

Studies show that prolonged standing can cause the blood to accumulate in the legs, putting pressure in the veins affecting circulation. As a result, blood may not be able to move as efficiently from your legs up to your heart.

Over time, this can lead to a range of heart conditions.

Varicose veins

Blood accumulating in your leg veins doesn’t just cause strain and affect circulation – it also stretches the veins.

This in turn causes varicose veins. Your vein walls stretch and swell, weakening over time thanks to prolonged standing.

While varicose veins are generally benign, for some people, they’re accompanied by pain.

Slouching

If you have bad posture to begin with, a standing desk can actually exacerbate the issue.

While an ergonomic office chair provides support and can “force” you to adopt a healthier posture, standing offers no such support.

If your posture is already bad, you could end up experiencing a lot of posture-related pain.

This is just another reason why alternating between sitting and standing is the best way to go about using your electric sit-stand desk – by having periods where you’re seated, you can “reset” your posture and get the support you need for at least some of the day.

How to use your electric standing desk: 3 tips for first-time standing desk users

Know your body

We know that we said you should ideally have a 50:50 split between sitting and standing. 

However, if your body can’t handle that much, there’s no shame in dialling it back!

Your health is paramount. Never force yourself to stand beyond your threshold. Pushing yourself too far can lead to serious aches and pains.

Standing should be done as long as it’s comfortable. If you know for a fact that your body can only handle short chunks, there’s no shame in starting – and staying at – 10 minute increments, only increasing them if you can handle them.

And if you experience fatigue and discomfort from standing, take that as a sign that you’re pushing yourself too far! 

 standing desks

Planning your standing

Yep, you heard us right!

For first-time users of electric sit-stand desks, we’ve found that it’s a good idea to plan your transition to standing, with clear milestones.

The point is to help your body adjust and acclimate to your new way of working.

What’s more, it also forces you to make a plan and stick to it!

Your standing progression may look a little bit like this:

  • Week 1 – Stand for 10 minutes every hour
  • Week 2 – Stand for 15 minutes every 45 minutes
  • Week 3 – Stand for 10 minutes every 30 minutes

Adjust your desk and screen position

Everyone’s different – to maximise the benefits of your electric standing desk, you need to set it at a height that fits your body.

That means setting your standing desk so that your:

  • Eyes align with the top third of your screen
  • Hands sit comfortably on the table
  • Elbows rest at a 90-degree angle
  • Shoulders and neck don’t need bunch up

Our standing desks are height adjustable, allowing you to find your most ergonomic fit.

Furthermore, they’re also electric standing desks. Not only does it mean that they’re easy to adjust – just press a button – but they can also save your preferred height settings.

That means you won’t have to waste time adjusting your desk every time you change between sitting and standing!

Stand up for better health with an electric standing desk

Enjoy a healthier, more productive and pain-free workplace with our custom-made standing desks.

Your health is important – and something you should invest in.

Whether you’re setting up your home office or looking to improve the wellbeing of your entire team, standing desks are the solution. Each of electric sit-stand desk comes with:

  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • Powerful Danish motors
  • Memory settings that allow you to save your preferred height
  • Additional extras like monitor arms and cable trays

Reduce work-related injuries and create a safer and comfortable working environment for you and your team with Ergomotion.

Call our ergonomic experts on (03) 9579 1454 or fill in the form to reach out to us online.

“Proudly supported by Glen Eira City Council”