6

votes

How to stand up while using standing desk?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 15, 2011 at 8:34 AM

These days at my work I'm alternating between standing and sitting, but am considering to go standing up the whole way. What is the best position of body members to face a whole day standing up. For example, I guess that consistently holding the body weight with the elbows (to relieve the back) on the table is not a good practice. Or even supporting the body weight just in one leg.. Do you even advise for completely ditching sitting?

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3

(837)

on June 09, 2012
at 06:30 PM

@Frank I've been standing for close to a year, and I too had the same heel problem. I either don't wear shoes, or wear the no-heel/zero-drop shoes that I wear all the time. I also have a somewhat soft mat to cover the concrete floor, which makes standing in just socks comfy. Socks becomes a fashion statement at that point, though. :)

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

(1867)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:57 PM

If my legs or feet feel fatigued, I stand on one leg for a while, then the other. That seems to do very well.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 13, 2012
at 03:57 PM

@Frank, I had the same problem, and what solved it for me was taking off my shoes. Shoes tend to encourage us to bear our weight more on our heels than is optimal. Take off the shoes, and you sort of naturally shift your weight forward onto the balls of the feet. It worked for me. It's probably important to use an anti-fatigue mat as well.

E18e363f19b58df35f360e5184de2549

(10)

on July 22, 2011
at 02:56 PM

I converted to a standing desk a few weeks ago, but the last few weeks I have developed heel pain. Strangely the pain is worst when I change position. It is complete alievated by walking or running, but I feel it worst when standing up in the moring.

Medium avatar

(3259)

on May 15, 2011
at 07:39 PM

Yeah...since posting this I got an industrial shock-absorbing stool that moves up and down. I kind of half-sit off and on during the day. I can't even imagine going back to a conventional desk at this point.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 15, 2011
at 03:25 PM

I am using a tall stool and go from standing to sitting on it during the day.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 15, 2011
at 03:23 PM

great question raul, I am doing the same as you.

288dbe9ee25e8dc72bc3b7d563d125a4

(50)

on February 15, 2011
at 07:38 PM

Yep, I read it before. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • 288dbe9ee25e8dc72bc3b7d563d125a4

    asked by

    (50)
  • Views
    17.1K
  • Last Activity
    1546D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

19 Answers

best answer

9
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on February 15, 2011
at 09:27 AM

Raul,

Standing is probably better than sitting, probably for the following reasons:

  • Easier to keep the back in a more or less neutral (so called good) position, which has the biomechanically least load and allows little movement. A slouched position and a exaggerated lordotic position put a some more stress on the spine (not bad per se), but they lock you in that position. This locking takes away the tiny movements we need.
  • You have what I call micromovement: constant adjustments for maintaining balance
  • You engage more easily in macromovement: sitting can be sitting really still for long periods, standing stimulates variation (different leg positioning, whole body movement when reaching for something, ...)

An additional benefit could be the hip muscles, you use them in a more appropriate way. If you don't adopt a sway back posture that is!

So, movement seems to be the key here. There is no bad posture. Posture only becomes bad if it is held for a long time. This is true even for the so called good posture, but more so for the 'bad' postures'.

So variation and movement are essential! Prolonged postures are problematic. Variation between postures is better. Variation between static posture and movement is even better. Standing desk work seems to stimulate variation and movement, much more than sitting work.

Movement breaks are really important, and you know what, they have been consistantly shown to improve productivity and creativity too! How about that for an easy solution.

By the way, use google images and look for hunter-gatherers that sit, and study their posture! Very interesting...

Hope this helps

E18e363f19b58df35f360e5184de2549

(10)

on July 22, 2011
at 02:56 PM

I converted to a standing desk a few weeks ago, but the last few weeks I have developed heel pain. Strangely the pain is worst when I change position. It is complete alievated by walking or running, but I feel it worst when standing up in the moring.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 13, 2012
at 03:57 PM

@Frank, I had the same problem, and what solved it for me was taking off my shoes. Shoes tend to encourage us to bear our weight more on our heels than is optimal. Take off the shoes, and you sort of naturally shift your weight forward onto the balls of the feet. It worked for me. It's probably important to use an anti-fatigue mat as well.

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

(1867)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:57 PM

If my legs or feet feel fatigued, I stand on one leg for a while, then the other. That seems to do very well.

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3

(837)

on June 09, 2012
at 06:30 PM

@Frank I've been standing for close to a year, and I too had the same heel problem. I either don't wear shoes, or wear the no-heel/zero-drop shoes that I wear all the time. I also have a somewhat soft mat to cover the concrete floor, which makes standing in just socks comfy. Socks becomes a fashion statement at that point, though. :)

4
Cd2ff8c68dd1f1d539ad7f0ee94b0421

on February 15, 2011
at 01:34 PM

I've been standing at work for about 9 months. I tend to fidget and move around a little, I'm not standing at attention all day long. Sometimes I lean on the desk a bit, sometimes I stand up and shift from foot to foot, and if I'm reading, I walk in circles in my cubicle. It all evens out. :-)

1
Medium avatar

(3259)

on February 15, 2011
at 08:13 PM

Echo all above. I started standing a month ago and will never go back to a chair. I have a few back and hip-flexor problems that have all but disappeared since standing. The first 2 weeks were tough - sore feet and legs. I feel much stronger and have a ton more energy to write.

I'm thinking about adding a drafting stool - something below butt-cheek height to kind of lean back on occasionally, just to keep things in constant flux. Anyone using anything similar?

Medium avatar

(3259)

on May 15, 2011
at 07:39 PM

Yeah...since posting this I got an industrial shock-absorbing stool that moves up and down. I kind of half-sit off and on during the day. I can't even imagine going back to a conventional desk at this point.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 15, 2011
at 03:25 PM

I am using a tall stool and go from standing to sitting on it during the day.

1
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on February 15, 2011
at 02:06 PM

I switched to a standing desk about 7-8 months ago or so. It takes a little getting used to, with some leg and shoulder pain the first month - after that it's great. I wouldn't want to return to sitting all day.

I agree with what's been said above - variety is good for posture / position. I shift from leg to leg, stand evenly on both, bend the knees, straighten the knees, pace around, etc. Life is motion.

1
186b8011a1572ec5b3ac68f5a7a72d2d

on February 15, 2011
at 10:00 AM

In addition to Pieter's great answer above, Gina Trapani (formerly of Lifehacker) recently wrote a useful post on the practicalities and benefits of a "standing desk".

http://smarterware.org/7102/how-and-why-i-switched-to-a-standing-desk

288dbe9ee25e8dc72bc3b7d563d125a4

(50)

on February 15, 2011
at 07:38 PM

Yep, I read it before. Thanks for pointing it out.

0
41d3035f75a3f33195e7037fb079cea5

on February 28, 2014
at 01:13 AM

Found another tip: take jumping-around breaks to revitalize the legs.

0
47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on February 27, 2014
at 12:20 PM

You can increase your risk of varicose veins if you stand all the time :

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1740939/

I'm not saying standing is not better but also have a chair or couch to use and don't stand all the time. I wouldn't risk with more than 50 minutes every hour.

Also keep your legs moving somehow contracting your muscles, that'll help moving the blood upwards.

0
41d3035f75a3f33195e7037fb079cea5

on February 27, 2014
at 11:00 AM

Watch the instructional videos on mountain pose at triggerpointyoga.com (mountain pose is the same thing as standing properly on two feet). Those videos made an immediate difference for me, even more so than the many good answers to this question here (e.g., using a [gel] mat, putting weight on one foot at time, standing on something with one foot, moving legs and knees a lot, switching postures, and using knee supports or insoles).

Taking (e.g. sitting, stretching, and/or jumping/hopping) breaks is a good idea because knee pain, exhaustion, carotid atherosclerosis, and varicose veins can arise from standing non-stop.

0
41d3035f75a3f33195e7037fb079cea5

on February 27, 2014
at 10:55 AM

Watch the instructional videos on mountain pose at triggerpointyoga.com (mountain pose is what yogis call standing on two legs). Those videos made an immediate difference for me, even more so than the many good answers to this question.

0
8f9b79be77f0090e880e2ba23b5f09d2

on October 25, 2012
at 03:06 PM

a great book that will change your life, literally, so good! deals with your muscles and referred pain. thought to post it because someone mentioned knee pain, crazy all the places that pain can come from! this particular book covers the whole body. http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-Therapy-Workbook-Self-Treatment/dp/1572243759/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351177480&sr=8-1&keywords=triggerpoint+therapy+workbook

0
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on June 09, 2012
at 10:33 PM

I stand with feet about shoulder-width apart - I can't lean on my desk because my "standing desk" is just a box on top of a regular desk and if I leaned on it I'd topple it over. I often shift from one leg to the other, or prop one foot up on a chair. I have swayback so this really helps me maintain a good spine posture. Every few hours I do a couple squats just to keep everything loosened up. My job also requires me to walk around the office a lot, so I'm not just standing there all day.

If you have any knee pain, I'd advise a gel met or just a good pair of insoles (I love my Superfeet!). I also wear light-duty knee braces sometimes, since I'm not allowed a mat (I did this when I worked as a cashier, too - took the pain out of standing on concrete for 8 hours/day).

0
5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on June 09, 2012
at 06:28 PM

I'm actually seeing a physical therapist for an upper back injury right now. I have some poor posture to work on, apparently.

But what I was told was to make sure my knees aren't locked (bend them slightly) and try to relax my weight onto my heels instead of the balls of my feet while standing. And keep your shoulders back (comfortably). Otherwise, this unconscious leaning forward allows the shoulders to slouch forward and strain your back.

I know I'm doing it right if the seam of my jeans is straight instead of "pointing forward" (while looking at my profile in a mirror).

0
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 09, 2012
at 05:08 PM

I keep a broad stance (just past shoulder width), and shift my weight from foot to foot without lifting either foot.

I didn't do barefoot well, it caused some issues with my existing plantar facia, so I wear neutral flip-flops and stand on a fairly soft rubber mat.

0
8bd9fff7a7d4ae95657b4d844dd72122

on June 09, 2012
at 04:50 PM

When works best for me is the option of standing or sitting. I use a Standing Fit; http://standingfit.com/

0
Dbbc316ff61d1204d89b080d1c4e09ee

on April 13, 2012
at 11:21 PM

From a tai chi perspective, it is better to stand with 100% of your weight on one leg than it is to stand with the weight evenly distributed on both feet. The foot of the unsubstantial leg rests on the floor with as little tension in the leg (and foot) as you can convince yourself to allow. When you tire on one leg, shift to the other. Variety and more effort can be introduced by bending the knee of the supporting leg . . . just make sure that the knee points in the same direction of the foot, so as the knee moves forward in space, it moves in the same direction of the supporting foot. Typically, the foot of the supporting leg points at a 45 degree angle from the direction your torso faces.

0
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 13, 2012
at 08:57 PM

I naturally bob up-and-down or kind of swing side-to-side. I'm a fidget-er at heart, so this naturally translates to my standing desk posture. I shift, move, alternate putting weight on one leg than the other, pretend I have "yoga feet" (spread out my toes and act like I'm rooted down), roll from the front of my foot to the back and just generally, as my boyfriend put it, look like I have a "combination of unsuccessful slow-dance moves, impersonations of a small child waiting in a bathroom line up, or a crazy hippy in a new age prayer trance". I have always done this at work, as an assistant baker (lot of standing in one place) or a cashier. Seems to stop any strain from standing in one place. That being said, I typically don't use my standing desk for the entire day, as I find it much slower to write long passages at.

0
A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 13, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Having objects nearby upon which you can prop a foot up for awhile helps too. Alternate left then right, in addition to all the other movements recommended by others. Also, as I commented on another answer, if you experience heel pain, try taking off your shoes. Shoes make me put too much weight on my heels, but stocking feet sort of naturally induced me to rock forward with more weight on the balls of my feet. I use a firm anti-fatigue mat as well. A folded up yoga mat works too.

0
9d9962505febc8ccfc61c03166f03065

on April 13, 2012
at 03:29 PM

I have been standing for a while now at my desk and I like it for the posture, but my knees seem to ache from the knee to my feet by the end of the day. any suggestions for knee strength?

0
2b1d41bcc8b4aae0528f5d22c62e1031

on October 22, 2011
at 02:02 PM

I had a bad habit of leaning my waist against the desk, which would put pressure on my lower back. Now I pay more attention and stand straight, but relaxed, with same ergonomic position of arms as when sitting (elbows bent at about 90 degree angle). It also helps to have a gel mat to stand on, unless you have really excellent shoes.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!