Sitting or standing? Try both!

I’ve had quite a bit of correspondence about standing desks since mentioning them this time last week. One reader pointed out that academic studies have shown that both sitting down and standing up for long periods of time can have bad effects on our long term health. Being active, including changing positions during a working day, is the key.

Someone whose business is dealing with the problems of standing for long periods is Richard O’Connor of First Mats Ltd. Richard wrote: “The trick to feeling good and productive during the day isn’t so much a question of whether to sit or to stand, but instead to just be more active. If you don’t have a standing desk, regular screen breaks and several short walks (can just be a minute or two) will help to give you a similar benefit. If it’s possible to stand up when you have meetings or a telephone call, then do so.

“If you do use a standing desk, don’t use it for more than two hours even if you’re used to it. Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

“Thinking of using a standing desk because of aches, pains and discomfort while sitting all day? Make sure your desk is set up correctly (e.g. monitor height) and that you’re sitting in a good chair with the right posture first. Also, drinking plenty of water can help!”

Those who have to stand for long periods know that a standing mat (or anti-fatigue mat) can help a lot. These activate leg muscles by encouraging small unconscious movements to keep you standing upright. This in turn helps to encourage better blood circulation, reducing the affects of fatigue. The softer surfaces created by the mat also increases comfort.