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We evolved to move. And for thousands of years that’s what we did – we walked, we ran, we climbed, we squatted. It’s only been in the last few hundred years that we have moved away from this more active (and healthy) lifestyle. Today, for the majority of us, sitting has become the norm – we sit to eat, we sit to drive, we sit at work and a lot of people still sit when they are at the gym!
The dangers of excessive sitting have been well documented – sitting for more than 6 hours per day is associated with a host of disorders from chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes to muscle, joint and bone problems like back pain, neck pain and osteoporosis . It’s no wonder the sitting has been dubbed by many as the new smoking!
This has led to a move away from traditional static desk and chair workstations to more movement friendly set ups. In this blog post we will discuss the key things to think about when considering a sit-stand desk.
If sitting is bad for us the obvious answer is to stand instead. Unfortunately, as with most things in life, it’s not quite that simple. Standing all day in the same positon also poses certain problems – particularly in those who have spent half a lifetime sitting in front of a screen and developed muscle imbalances and joint stifffness. The real answer is to vary your working posture throughout the day as much as possible and transition to these more active positions gradually to give your body the chance adapt and strengthen. After all, as Professor Stuart McGill States:
“the best posture is one that is constantly changing.”
Sit-stand desks are a fantastic tool to help to keep you moving and varying your posture throughout the day. They move from a standard desk height for seated work to an elevated positon where you can work in a range of standing postures.
Sit stand desks come in two varieties – manual and electronic. Electronic models are more expensive but well worth the extra investment. If you are transitioning back and forth from sitting to standing throughout the day (which is highly recommended, particularly if you are not used to standing) you will soon get tired of spending 2-3 minutes cranking your desk up or down every time you want to change position.
Small electronic sit-stand desks start at around £500.
A cheaper alternative to replacing your current desk with a sit-stand version would be an adjustable desk raiser. These sit on your original desk and elevate to allow you to switch between sitting and standing postures.
Varidesk are a well-established desk raise brand offering two-tier designs and models large enough to accommodate dual-monitor setups. You can also find a range of cheaper alternatives on amazon.
Simple, practical advice for creating a healthier workspace. Includes:
- Back-friendly chair set-up & sitting alternatives
- Ergonomic tips for neck, shoulder and arm pain
- The dangers of excessive sitting & what you can do to reduce your risk.
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This page was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more information about Steffen click here.