Whatever the matter or case is, moderation is the key. The same goes for sitting and standing at work. Prolonged sitting and prolonged standing - both are bad. So, giving a specific timeframe for standing at the desk is not possible as everyone has a different tolerance.
Here is the complete detail regarding how many hours are recommended by different experts and which strategy suits you the best. Moreover, there is information that you would need while changing your sitting habit like how to remember that you have to stand up after some time and how to increase standing tolerance.
How Many Hours are Recommended for Standing?
While talking about the number of hours one should alternate between sitting and standing, there are many schools of thought. Different ergonomists have conducted trials and concluded different hours according to their observations.
- According to some ergonomists, the best ratio is 1:1. They say standing is as bad as sitting so they need to be balanced. One should stand for an hour to compensate for one hour of sitting. If one has low standing tolerance, it can be practiced by sitting and standing for 30 minutes.
- Some suggest doubling the sitting time is okay. The 2:1 ratio of sitting and standing can bring exceptional results as well.
- Others suggested a 3:1 ratio. According to them standing for 15 minutes every hour is what you need to escape the harm of sitting.
- Another study suggests the opposite of the above. According to it, the 1:3 ratiocan bring better results, clearly stating that one should stand for 45 minutes every hour.
- A journalpublished in 2015, didn’t suggest a ratio but stated that standing for 2 hours during the total working hours is enough.
How Long Should You Stand at a Standing Desk?
You must be confused by now that among the above what suits me the best. The truth is all the above statements are the results of some observations made by scientists on people or what suited them the best. Now it’s your turn to choose the strategy that suits you the most. Know your standing tolerance. If you know you can stand for an hour then a 1:1 ratio would be great. If you think that’s difficult for you, start with a 3:1 ratio and then increase it gradually. In fact, I would recommend starting standing for 15 minutes. It is because we all are habitual to prolonged sitting. Changing the lifestyle suddenly brings more harm than good.
Harms of Prolonged Sitting
Sitting disturbs the distribution of blood in the body resulting in poor oxygenation. The heart might have to exert more effort than needed resulting in heart problems. Moreover, prolonged sitting reduces our physical activities resulting in obesity and diabetes. Dementia, cancer, and deep vein thrombosis have also been associated with sitting for long hours. With the risk of all these diseases, your mental health won’t remain the same and you might suffer depression and anxiety.
Harms of Prolonged Standing
Excess of anything is bad and the same goes for standing. Prolonged standing can not only cause general fatigue, leg cramps, and heel vein but is also associated with other disorders of lower limbs with varicose veins being at the top of the list. In this condition leg veins do overwork and the blood may pool in them. The condition results in large and twisted veins with deep sharp pain. Moreover, extensive pressure on hips, knees, and ankle joints reduces their lubrication tearing them as a result. Furthermore, excessive standing is bad for a pregnant woman at work as it can put her baby at risk.
How to Remember to Stand More?
The key is motivating one own self. Revbalance stated to motivate yourself you need to purchase a desk and it is indeed true. If you have spent money, how can you forget to use it? Still, if you do forget, there are many other solutions. Set an alarm that will ring exactly after the time you have to stand up. Keep recalling the harms of prolonged sitting by reading more about it. Set some goals like I need to stand for 15 minutes initially and by a week or two I will be standing for 30 minutes every hour. Don’t forget to reward yourself whenever you stick to your standing schedule.
Alternating Between Sitting and Standing Won’t Affect Focus?
Many people buy a permanent standing desk, but later they realize they had to mix up their sitting and standing time so they feel problems shifting from a sitting desk to a standing desk amidst their work. They completely lose their focus on work and face unproductiveness. The ultimate solution to this problem is buying a sit-stand desk. It allows you to elevate as well as lower your desk as per need. You don’t have to change your position and don’t have to compromise on productivity as well.
How to Develop Standing Tolerance?
If you think your standing tolerance is less, you can increase it with a number of other activities. Do all your small chores while standing. For instance, if you are craving coffee, instead of asking for it from someone go make it by yourself. If you use the bathing tub, get rid of it and stand in the shower. Other tasks like taking a call, doing some gardening, or folding the laundry, do while standing. Slowly, but they will definitely increase your standing tolerance.
How to Make Standing Easier?
Since you and I and most of the people out there are not habitual of standing so here are some tips for making standing easier:
- Don’t wear high heels instead wear the ones with comfortable soles.
- Don’t keep standing in the same position, take a break and stretch the body.
- Don’t slouch while standing and keep the shoulders straight.
- Don’t bend over the workspace, instead bring it to your elbow length.
- Check desk ergonomics, including the desk height, width, depth, and level of the screen with respect to eyes.
- Shift the weight by alternating the position of both legs.
- Use an anti-fatigue mat.
- Use a standing desk stool.
- Stay hydrated.
Should I Take Rest From Both?
If you are wondering about taking a rest from both sitting and standing, yes you should. At the office, you can take the rest by moving here and there or by doing some quick stretches. Outside the office, you can consider jogging and exercising. These activities engage other parts of your body as well, using them equally. Only physical work is not the key. You need some rest as well. Make sure you are getting proper sleep.
Different ergonomists through their observations which they made either on themselves or through trials on people suggest different strategies for following a sit-stand habit at the office. Some suggest standing equally the number of minutes or hours you spend sitting. Some suggest standing half the time you utilize in sitting and many others suggest standing for one-third of your time at work. The problem that we cannot specify any of these is that every single person has a different standing tolerance. Everyone must analyze his own capabilities by practicing 15 minutes of stand time every hour and increasing the time afterward.