With doctors warning against the health implications of prolonged sitting, the concept of using a height adjustable desk at your workplace or at home is starting to take center stage. You see, even when one maintains an active lifestyle, but still sits for prolonged periods of time in front of a computer, it cancels out the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle. You are still bound to experience back pains and other ergonomic ailments related to your sitting posture. In order to to avoid these problems, furniture builders have come up with creative solutions, such as standing desks and accessories to go alongside them.
But not everyone can stand forever - that gets tiring as well. In fact, studies, such as that by Dr. Joan Vernikos, Former Director of Life Sciences at NASA, show that it is actually the act of switching your position from standing to sitting throughout the day that has the real benefits. So when it’s time to take a break from standing, you need to make sure the way you sit isn’t harmful to your health. After all, a height adjustable desk isn’t the only piece of furniture needed to improve your health. So here we go:
If you remain standing for prolonged sessions, you will notice how frequently you’re shifting your weight, or minutely changing positions while standing. Maintaining the correct posture, even while standing, is still important. A supported stool, or even just a standard step stool, provides you with a variety of ways to stand, by simply placing one foot on the stool. Doing so also helps to take pressure off of the parts of your legs which support the most weight while standing for prolonged periods, encouraging muscles less used to be engaged. It also affords you the ability to sit down without needing to lower your desk, and your core will engage to keep you balanced and sitting up-right.
A Supportive Chair
Wait! A supportive chair when all you need is a standing desk? Most people think they will be standing all along once they have this kind of desk in place, but the human body is not designed to maintain one position for a long time. The best way to achieve a healthy combination of sitting and standing is by investing in a standing desk and a supportive chair setup. Looking for the best office chair is a science in itself, because you want to make sure your purchasing one that will keep you supported and ergonomically correct, so the benefits of standing aren’t lost when you take a break to sit down.
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Whether you remain standing or sitting, a footrest is a great way to rest your legs comfortably. Similar to putting a foot up on your stool, this piece of furniture can be very useful to your legs because it eases off the excess built up pressure. But now the million dollar question is; do you need a footrest and a step stool at the same time? For most workstations, the answer is no. If you have a supported chair, then a footrest is a great addition when in both the sitting and standing positions. If a stool is more your thing, you can likely forego the footrest.
A Kneeling Chair
Kneeling chairs date back decades (Peter Opsivik created the Variable balans original kneeling chair back in 1979), but many people aren’t familiar with them. Kneeling chairs are not only supportive, but they also assist in strengthening the muscles in your abdomen and back, as these muscles automatically engage to keep your spine upright and to keep you balanced. Circulation is also improved when you’re on a kneeling chair, because of the angle created between your upper and lower back. Best of all, they’re fun to use, as their contoured base encourages natural movement.
An Anti-Fatigue Mat
When you remain standing for too long, you will most likely notice that your feat is aching due to fatigue. Unbeknownst to many, this fatigue isn’t usually caused because of the length of time you’ve been standing, but is more often caused by the surface upon which you’re standing. If the surface is too hard, it won’t be sustainable for prolonged standing. To prevent this fatigue, anti-fatigue mats are a fantastic tool. Standing on an anti-fatigue mat is not only comfortable with or without shoes on, but it is made of flexible material that prevents the muscles in your legs from staying static for too long (the muscles in your legs will expand and contract to adjust to the material of the mat). Micro-movements are great for circulation, and give you more energy, helping you to be more productive.
Even when you have invested in a good height adjustable desk, you should always aim to alternate between sitting and standing. Also, even though a standing desk will help improve your health in a multitude of ways, it doesn’t mean you will be totally immune to posture-related problems. Always make sure you have a good seating option, and various accessories to keep your muscles engaged, but not fatigued, while standing up.