If you use a computer for any part of your day (or, in the case of most of us, all of your day), it’s past time to invest in a standing desk. You’ll see returns in better health and mood, not to mention higher productivity.
You’ve probably heard that sitting is the new smoking, and that’s not an exaggeration:
• Because you’re probably not sitting up straight (mom and dad were so wise for being so boring), there is massive pressure on your lower back.
• When you first sit down, bloodflow to your legs slows; sit long enough and circulation in the rest of your body also suffers, depriving you of oxygen and making you feel mentally and physically sluggish.
• Some doctors have even blamed a recent spike in osteoporosis on a lack of walking and other activities that would strengthen muscles and bones.
You can’t fight it by exercising — if you even have the energy. Slouching means your abs aren’t working, and your hunched back is cramped and sore and getting less flexible, which makes it more prone to injury. A review of 47 studies that surveyed people about how much they sit and exercise found that even those who exercised for a half hour to an hour daily only saw a 15 percent reduction in the negative effects of sitting.
So, as we’re only spending more time working and playing on computers, it’s time to change the way we do it.
Note that there is an initial adjustment period. In our experience, your mind has to get used to thinking of standing as the new position for work, so daydreaming and easy distraction are a problem at first. Don’t worry; this passes after a couple weeks. As far as other changes, most office dress code-appropriate shoes are not meant for eight hours of standing, so you’ll need to either buy new ones or invest in a cushioned mat to stand on.
As you plan your conversion to the standing life, there are a couple of key things to keep in mind for making your new workspace ergonomic: Elbows should rest comfortably at your sides, forearms level with or just above the surface on which the keyboard and mouse sit. Tilt your monitor slightly backward, and adjust the height so the top third of the screen is eye-level.
To get you started thinking about all the options, we rounded up some of our favorite models for every workspace.