Standing desks help posture by allowing you to keep a neutral position as you work and reducing your reliance on other furniture, such as desk chairs.
These benefits increase when you alternate between sitting and standing, further reducing the muscle strain, but it is important to be mindful of your posture.
As long as you use a standing desk properly, you can expect benefits that reduce pain and make it easier to maintain proper posture.
Keep reading as we explain how standing desks help posture, as well as how to use a standing desk properly to access these benefits.
How Standing Desks Help Posture
Standing desks help posture by reducing your opportunity to slouch and allowing you to switch up your position throughout the day.
The body is better designed for standing than it is sitting, and standing desks take advantage of this.
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Reduce Variables that Affect Posture:
Sitting at your desk forces you to rely on other tools to accomplish your tasks. This increases your chances of:
- Slouching in your chair
- Sitting too close to the desk
- Sitting at an improper height
- Placing peripherals at an improper distance
While proper posture and positioning limit these issues, you don’t have the same opportunities while standing.
It’s often easier to ensure your standing desk is at the right height for proper posture, and you’re more likely to notice issues such as slouching or leaning.
By taking the chair out of the equation, you lose a crutch that can lead to poor posture that strains the muscles in your back, neck, and hips.
Switch Up Orientation Throughout the Workday:
The ideal setup includes a place to sit and work and a place to stand and work.
Adding a standing desk to your office or replacing your existing desk with a sit-stand desk lets you mix it up throughout the workday, engaging different muscles in different ways.
The ideal ratio of standing work to sitting work exists around1:1 or 2:1, meaning that for every minute you spend sitting, you should spend a minute or two standing.
The easiest way to implement this is by alternating between sitting and standing every 30 minutes or every hour.
Taking the transition time as an opportunity to walk around and take a break also helps break up monotonous tasks, enhancing mental health on top of helping your posture.
When Standing Desks Do Not Help Posture
Keep in mind that these benefits to your posture only exist if you use a standing desk as intended.
A standing desk is a tool for you to use, and improper use will hinder proper posture and cause issues such as:
- Lower back pain
- Leg pain
- Neck strain
Make sure you use the desk properly to achieve benefits to your posture. If you notice pain or discomfort, likely, that your body is not aligned correctly or you have a physical issue to address.
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Proper Posture at a Standing Desk
Proper posture when standing is a combination of:
- Aligning your body in a way that is both straight and neutral
- Ensuring your wrists reach the keyboard and mice easily
- Setting your monitor at the right height
Understanding how to achieve these positions is essential for unlocking the full benefits of your standing desk.
While you want your back straight, proper alignment does not mean everything needs to line up perfectly.
Instead, everything should gravitate toward the midline without requiring much engagement on your part.
Most of your body understands the proper position, but you need to check in occasionally to ensure you are not slouching and throwing things out of line.
The straight-line usually incorporates your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles. Make sure these parts of your body stay relaxed while holding position, particularly your shoulders.
Your spine and neck should stand tall, but these areas have natural curves that affect their ability to straighten.
Pay attention to how they feel when you line up the other parts of your body; this is their neutral position, and your muscles engage in a certain way to hold this position.
Your knees should be slightly bent, but not so much that you are squatting.
Bend them enough to prevent hyperextension or locking that strains the muscles in your legs and cuts off blood flow.
Wrist position is important to prevent posture issues in your shoulders and neck, and improper position can compress the internal structure of this area.
Ensuring neutral wrists prevents repeated extensions and flexions that lead to issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Your standing desk should sit at a height that allows your elbows to bend at a 90-degree angle.
If this is not achievable with your standing desk, consider adding a shelf or keyboard tray above or below the desk surface.
Your hands should float over the keyboard while allowing your wrist to stay straight and relaxed. It is important to make sure your wrist does not bend up or down.
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Proper monitor height makes sure you don’t lean on your desk or crane your neck to see your screen.
The top third of the monitor should be level with your eyes at a distance of 20 to 30 inches from your face. This gives you the best view of the entire screen without requiring you to look up or down.
Tilt the monitor upwards about 10 to 20 degrees to allow a clearer view of the screen as long as it does not cause a glare from overhead lights.
Proper Seated Posture Using a Sit-Stand Desk
A sit-stand desk offers you the most posture benefits by allowing you to switch between sedentary and standing work.
Posture differs depending on the orientation of your body, and you should make sure you take advantage of your chair instead of using it as a crutch while sitting.
Before you can adjust your desk to your seated height, you need to adjust your chair to the right position.
Your chair allows you to keep proper posture, and it can affect the needed height of the desk.
Adjust the chair height so your feet rest flat on the floor and the seat cushion is parallel to the base of your knees.
There should be a small gap between the back of your knees and the front edge of the seat.
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Ensure your knees bend at a 90-degree angle to prevent strain to your ankles or hips.
Once you have your proper seated posture, you should move the desk to the correct height. This helps you position your arms and hands correctly.
Again, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle but keep your shoulders relaxed. Your armrests should barely touch your elbows in this position.
Move the desk so the surface reaches the bottom of your forearms and your hands float over the keyboard as previously mentioned.
The addition of a desk chair offers features that benefit posture when used correctly.
If your chair has a curved or padded backrest, allow it to meet the hollow of your back to provide additional support.
Keep your spine straight to prevent slouching. This promotes imbalanced muscle engagement and puts pressure on the discs and vertebrae of your spine, leading to back pain.
Desk chairs with lumbar support aid proper seated posture.
Tips to Help Posture with a Standing Desk
Using a footrest or a fatigue mat limits the stress of standing, alleviating the unfamiliar pressure put on your feet.
If you find yourself standing rigid at your desk, consider listening to music as you work. This helps you relax and encourages small shifts in how you hold your weight.
Don’t expect perfect posture the first time you use a standing desk. If you are not used to standing while working, you might need to switch back to sitting more often.
It takes about 4 weeks to get used to using a standing desk, but the benefits last well beyond that.