So, you have yourself a standing work station. They're awesome! Whilst they take a lot of strain off the discs in your lower back and muscles it also means you are burning more sugar and fats i.e. calories. We will be taking a look at the benefits of having one, how it should be set up correctly, common postural mistakes and how to correct them.
- It is much better for your core spinal muscles – providing you stand properly and can lower the incidence of neck and upper back pain by up to 54%. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23057991
- Reduces the risk of cancer, particularly breast and colon cancer which seem to be affected by activity. It also reduces the risk of obesity because you burn more calories which helps to prevent heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
- It can also help to increase productivity and boost your mood.
- Our core muscles become less active when we sit especially for long periods of time. When we stand they're much more active but only if they're strong and haven't been damaged, think use it or lose it. I won't go into how to strengthen your core as that's a whole topic of its own. The problem with this is they support all the joints in our spine and if they are weak you are more likely to injure yourself.
As with sitting down to use a computer the set-up is very important as well.
- Desk height should allow a 90degree angle at elbows with keyboard at a comfortable distance in front of you
- Monitor arm's length from eyes
- Top of screen not monitor level with eyes
- If wear bifocals, top of screen level with upper most part of near sighted section.
- If using two monitors, whichever monitor you use the most be directly in front of you. If you use two equally, put them together on an angle with the edges touching.
Problems that may arise
A picture speaks a 1000 words so have a look at the accompanying image. I caught myself a couple of times standing with my weight significantly over one leg and then also leaning on my elbow. This caused my spine to curve which creates wear and tear.
Also, watch out for rounding your shoulders and sticking your chin forward. This causes a huge increase in strain for your upper back and neck, again, causing wear and tear which eventuates in pain and arthritis.
Standing up is hard work. Partly because it takes time to get used to it but even after you have been doing it for a while your heart needs to work harder to pump the blood around your body and your muscles have a fatigue cycle so they need some rest. To help out with this, alternate between sitting and standing every 45-60 minutes.
Acquiring a standing work desk is absolutely a win for your health. Please remember to have it set up correctly and stand properly as this does wonders for your spine and body.