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The benefits of a height-adjustable standing desk

Sitting at your desk for a prolonged period of time can be hazardous to your health. If you find yourself hunched over your workstation for more than eight hours a day, consider talking to your employer about a height-adjustable standing desk.

A height-adjustable standing desk allows you to switch between a standing and seated position while working.

“Sitting increases pressure on the disks in your lower back, and it’s bad for the circulation in your legs and your cardiovascular system,” says Ruth Gronde, an ergonomic therapist at Piedmont. “A height-adjustable standing desk is a great way to get more movement. You’re burning a few more calories, it’s better for your circulation, and studies have shown that it can increase productivity.”

How to choose your height-adjustable standing desk

When choosing a height-adjustable standing desk, Gronde recommends the following considerations:

  • Inspect your desk environment to see what will fit in the allotted space.

“Most standing desks will not allow room for you to have an overhead cabinet,” Gronde says. “And you need to have extra space to move your chair around, because you don't want your chair in the space that you are standing.”

  • Choose a desk that adjusts as low as your sitting elbow height and as high as your standing elbow height.
  • Find a footrest that you can periodically prop your foot on while you are standing.
  • Consider getting an adjustable-height keyboard tray.
  • Make sure your set up for the seated position is comfortable.

Transitioning to a height-adjustable desk

“The most important thing when making the transition to a standing desk is knowing that in the beginning, you're not going to be comfortable standing for long periods of time,” Gronde says. “Start off standing for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, so you can acclimate to it.  Then you can work your way up from there.”

Gronde recommends using the standing feature on the desk for a quarter of the day. She also says it’s important to stand in small increments, like 20 to 30, rather than for hours at a time.

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