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Five things I learned after moving to a standing desk


Taylor Martin / CNET

Sitting in an office desk for long periods of time your body can take its toll. While it remains to be seen whether sitting is as harmful as some studies have suggested, switching to a standing desk is an increasingly popular way to reduce potential health risks.

Read: 4 Things To Know Before Buying A Standing Desk

But swapping a sitting desk for a standing desk isn’t as easy as it sounds. Before throwing out your old desk, here are some things to consider.

1. There is a honeymoon

The first week is the hardest, but it doesn’t necessarily get any easier.

As with exercise, you will likely enjoy the first few hours of standing while you work. You will notice how refreshing it is and how much easier it is to stick to your task. You may even feel a little more energized while you work.

But once you get past the “honeymoon” stage of standing, fatigue will set in and you may find yourself starting your days sitting again.

To maintain the habit of standing, it’s best to start your day there and stay there until you start to feel your focus and attentiveness fading – or when you start to feel uncomfortable. At this point, it is a good idea to sit down until you are ready to stand again.

Adjustable desks make this easy, as you can lower the desk to a comfortable seat height and put on a chair. If your standing desk is at a fixed height, pull up a bar stool or go to the nearest table or bench.

2. You burn more calories

You do not stand to stand, you burn calories!

The reason you feel more energetic and attentive is that when you are on your feet, you are a little more active. Standing burns about 30 percent more calories than sitting. So if you burn an average of 1,500 calories per workday while sitting, you will burn 2,000 or more while standing for the same amount of time.

However, calorie burning is just the beginning of the health benefits of standing. Standing improves posture, increases blood circulation, lowers the risk of disease and blood clots, and makes you feel better at the end of a long workday.

3. Height of the display is important (a lot)

An elevated workspace can create a greater distance between your hands and eyes.

When working at a standing desk, your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle (so that your wrists are straight) and your neck should be in a neutral position. But if you’re working with a laptop and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, it means your display is too low, pushing your neck down. This can lead to neck pain over time.

To avoid this, raise the display by placing your laptop on a stand and then pair it with an external keyboard and mouse. Or you can add an external monitor and set the laptop aside. You should be able to look straight ahead and see the monitor without tilting your head.

4. You need an anti-fatigue mat

Your feet are likely to hurt.

anti-fatigue mat.jpg

Taylor Martin / CNET

During the adjustment period (the first days or weeks), your feet will probably hurt after just a few hours of standing. This is normal, but to relieve some of the pain in your feet it is best to invest in an anti-fatigue mat (gel).

Anti-fatigue mats come in all sizes, shapes and colors, but the idea is the same: an extra layer of cushion between your feet and the floor underneath.

You can also invest in a pair of extra comfortable shoes or a balance disc, which will provide more cushioning, improve your balance, and exercise different parts of your feet throughout the day.

5. Cable management

Managing cables at a non-standard height presents organizational difficulties.

With a stationary or traditional sitting desk, it is easy to bundle all the cables together and hide them behind one of the legs. With standing desks, which are usually quite elongated (without drawers), there are fewer places to hide a lot of cables, especially if you have multiple accessories with your computer, such as an extra monitor, a printer and / or a external hard drive

One solution is to place a surge protector along the back of the desk (or mount it on the wall) and use it as your “power hub”. This way, only one cable runs through the wall to an outlet.

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