Using a standing desk can be beneficial to your overall health, but you have to use it properly otherwise it will not work like it is supposed to. Not only should you know how to adjust the standing desk to the correct height, but you should also make sure to sit correctly at the desk.
This article will cover the consequences of sitting at a desk that is too tall and how to make sure that it is the correct height. It will also cover the best way to sit and stand at your desk throughout the day. Finally, it also includes the reasons that a height-adjustable desk is beneficial and why it is a better choice than a desk that is only for sitting or standing.
What Happens if Your Desk is Too High?
When your desk is too high, then you may develop aches and pains because the arm and shoulder muscles become overworked. When we contract our shoulder muscles too much throughout the day, the shoulder blades can be too high which can lead to tension. It can also mean the development of a habit that can harm our necks, shoulders, and back.
If you have ever found that you have tension and pain near the top of your shoulder, this could be caused by a desk that is too high. When we use a desk it is actually best to have a relaxed, but straight posture.
In addition to high, tensed shoulders, a desk that is too high can also cause neck pain because you will have to lead the neck and head slightly back to properly see the monitor screen. This can cause a crick in the neck or pain along the neck or backside of the head.
If you have a desk that is too high and you do not have a height adjustable desk, you have limited options. While it is recommended that you get an adjustable standing desk, this may not always be possible. If you cannot get a new desk, then you can choose to raise the height of your office chair. You may also be able to saw some of the legs off to lower it. But you should go shopping for a new desk whenever possible.
What Happens if Your Desk is Too Low?
Your desk can also be too low and this can cause you to need to hold your arms out to properly reach the keyboard. Tension can build in the arm muscles and the awkward reach can also lead to poor posture.
A desk that is too short can encourage slumping or slouching. This may be the only way for you to actually reach the keyboard if the desk is substantially lower than it should be. All of these can cause neck, shoulder, back, and arm pain and tension. It can also cause muscle weakness which can lead to a sunken chest.
A desk that is too low is usually a much easier fix than one that is too high. You can raise it with boards or books under the legs. However, it is still best to purchase a new desk and find something that is adjustable to fit you correctly.
Should Your Arms Rest on the Desk While Typing?
The height of your desktop is crucial for avoiding bad posture and back and neck pain. In addition, it is how you can also get the most benefits out of a standing desk. Typically, a desk should be right at elbow height.
This height will be different depending on whether you are standing or sitting at the desk. If you are standing tall while using the desk, then you can hold your arms straight out away from your body. The forearms should be parallel to the floor and be able to rest on top of the desk. Then, measure the floor to the bottom of your forearms. That is the height that the desk should be.
Remember that when you are using a standing desk, you will have to take the thickness of your shoes into account. For some shoes this will not make much of a difference, but high heels, boots, and other taller shoes can be a major factor in the height of the desktop.
For a sitting desk, or sitting at an adjustable standing desk, your arms should be able to reach the keyboard and rest comfortably on top of the desktop. You should not have to bend your arms to type and the upper arms should be loose and limber. If you have to raise your arms or tense your shoulders then the desk is too high and if your hands are lower than your elbows the desktop needs to be a little higher.
What is the Best Way to Sit at a Desk All Day?
Research indicates that you should combine sitting and standing to avoid the health risks of doing either one for a prolonged period. The combination of the two is healthier than one or the other. However, this begs the question how much to sit and how much to stand?
Typically, experts agree that a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio of sitting to standing is most beneficial for overall health and comfort. This means that you should try to stand for a half an hour to an hour for every hour that you are sitting.
In addition, it is best to alternate between the two often. Try to find times when you can switch without interrupting your productivity or work habits. Also, when you are switching, it can also help to benefit your health if you move around. Take a walk around the office or do some stretches.
In addition, you should always strive to apply the principles of ergonomics to both sitting and standing. The height of the desk and the position of the monitor are important to achieve the health benefits.
It may be helpful to use an ergonomic keyboard that has a negative tilt. There are also other attachments that you can add to your desk to make it more ergonomically comfortable. There are armrests and lumbar support features.
When you are using the desk in the sitting position it is also important to have the height of the chair in a good position for the height of the desk. The cushion should be parallel with the back of your thighs while your feet should remain flat on the floor.
Also, try to have your materials located around the desk so that they are easy to reach without moving your body in awkward ways. A standing mat may also be good for the times that you are standing.
If you are new to an adjustable standing desk, try to adjust to it gradually. This means that you should never go straight to prolonged periods of standing. Instead, increase the amount of standing time by 5 to 10 minutes each day until you reach the optimal ratio of standing to sitting.
Are Height Adjustable Desks Worth It?
Standing can have a lot of benefits. In fact, it could even increase your productivity and focus and may even help to improve your energy levels. Standing can burn more calories as well and standing after lunch can improve your blood sugar levels. This could also contribute to increased productivity during the afternoon.
Not only that, but a standing desk can help you reduce the harm that sitting too much can cause. However, it is also not healthy to only stand all day. It can cause different types of pain and even lead to more detrimental effects like heart problems.
The solution to the problems caused by too much sitting and prolonged standing is a height adjustable desk. This means that it is incredibly worthwhile to purchase a height adjustable desk because you can use it for both sitting and standing and properly alternate between the two throughout the day. This is the healthiest way to use a height adjustable desk and is impossible to do with a desk that does not adjust to the correct heights.
Finally, a height adjustable desk also encourages more movement and exercise. This may be the most beneficial thing about desks if you use them in a certain way. Every time you adjust the desk, try to get a little movement going. You could even do some standing desk exercises or purchase an under desk elliptical machine.
Final Thoughts on Desks Too High
While a desk that is too high can cause some problems including shoulder and neck pain, a desk that is too low is no good either. Instead, you want a desk that is comfortable for your personal body type and height. This is only one of the reasons that a height adjustable desk is the best choice. In addition, the combination of standing and sitting is healthier than either one on its own. If you have found that your desk is too high or low, then you may want to consider buying a height adjustable standing desk as a replacement.