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Let’s Talk Standing

Is standing better than sitting or is the opposite true?

If you have stepped inside our clinic lately you may have noticed that our front reception desk looks a little different with the addition of our standing desks. And you might ask why?

The addition of standing desks has become very prominent in workplaces over the past decade or more. Huge multinational cooperations such as Google and the like now provide workspaces with multiple ergonomic options for working. But what is the best position? Standing, sitting, or even lying down?

The answer is actually all of the above and more. Let me explain why. Our bodies are not designed to be stationary for long periods of time. And the problem with sitting at a desk is that after a short period of time our stabilising muscles switch off and the forces are then distributed to the passive structures, such as the ligaments, joints and discs of your spine. Over long periods of time this stress will have a damaging effect on these structures and contribute to pain, inflammation and adaptive changes in these structures. But sitting is not always bad. And the old myth of sitting being the new smoking doesn’t even come close to comparing. In fact for some clients we see sitting is the best position for them to alleviate pain and symptoms. If you currently spend most of your work time sitting, try sitting up tall for 10 seconds and repeat this every 20 minutes. This will help activate all those stabilising muscles. Thinking about sitting up tall all day, however, won’t work.

Standing is a much better position to be spending more of your time in at your work station. In standing, your muscles will be a lot more active with less load placed on those passive structures. This position is also beneficial in increasing your metabolism for the day and you will be more likely to move to get things out of the cupboard compared to wheeling your chair. If you are not used to spending large periods of time standing it is important to gradually start spending more time in this position. Start with 30 minutes, 2 times a day, and gradually increase this time.

Standing all day is not necessarily the ideal, and can result in a sore back and sore feet. You can address this by changing positions frequently and by investing in a soft mat to stand on. I find that changing positions is the best solution. When I am working on the computer at home you will find me changing positions frequently, alternating between standing, sitting on a chair, lying on the ground, and sitting on the ground.

Try these Top Tips for your workspace:

  1. Invest in a stand up desk (your body will thank you)

  2. Try to change positions frequently

  3. Try sitting up tall for 10 seconds every 20 minutes when you are sitting

  4. Ensure you have the correct ergonomic set up for your standing and sitting positions

  5. Try to exercise every day

If you would like assistance with your ergonomic assessment or advice on the right standing desk for you, our team at Astute can help you get the most out of your work station.

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