How to Properly Use a Standing Desk

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Updated August 29, 2022

The best standing desk can help your body when working.

With more and more of today’s jobs being sedentary, it’s become a real health concern for many people. Everything from obesity and weakened muscles to an increased risk of heart disease can be linked to inactivity and lack of exercise. A major catalyst for this phenomenon is the large number of jobs where people sit in a chair behind a desk all day. One solution to this problem is to trade in your traditional desk for any one of our top 10 best standing desks.

The best standing desk will help you to be healthier and work smarter.

Going this route offers many benefits like weight loss, lower blood pressure as well as increased alertness and productivity. But before you go all in, and read about standing desk benefits, you need to know how to properly use a standing desk.

1. Proper Height for a Standing Desk

Standing desk ergonomics are extremely important for maximizing the benefits and avoiding strain on your body. For this, you should look for a desk that is easily adjustable but also stable at your needed height. For a well reviewed and liked option, you can read our review of the Jarvis Bamboo standing desk.

When setting the height, it will depend on how tall you are. Ideally, the table height will be just at or slightly below your elbow height. It should be set so that your arms are bent at 90 degrees when typing on your keyboard or using your mouse. The monitor should be placed at eye level and 15 to 30 inches away from you. This will allow you to work comfortably and prevent arm, wrist, and eye strain.

2. Correct Posture

When working at a stand-up desk, you want to ensure that your body is positioned for maximum comfort. Otherwise, having an incorrect posture can have adverse effects.

  • This begins with standing with your knees slightly bent and not completely straight to the point that they lock up.
  • It’s also a good idea to periodically shift your weight back and forth from each foot to increase your comfort.
  • Keep your wrists straight and your elbows close to your body.
  • Set your monitor so that you can look straight at it and don’t have to bend your neck downward.

We also have a great article that expands on the importance of posture and how to ensure good posture at a standing desk.

3. Proper Footwear

It’s also important to wear the right shoes when working at a standing desk.

  • Remove Uncomfortable Footwear: The last thing you want is to wear rigid, uncomfortable footwear because it can quickly become painful and defeat the purpose of standing.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: When you’re on your feet all day, you need to wear comfortable shoes with plenty of support. That means that high heels and even flats are usually a bad idea for women. Instead, it’s better to go with sneakers, Crocs or something similar that won’t hurt your feet.
  • Try Barefoot: Going barefoot is even an option if your workplace has an issue with you wearing casual shoes. It’s definitely better to be barefoot than strain your feet and legs with high heels.

4. Use an Anti-Fatigue Mat

A great way to optimize your new set-up is by investing in an anti-fatigue mat.

Standing on this type of mat provides your feet with added support and reduces the pressure on your body. This is especially helpful when you’re just getting used to stand-up desks. These are relatively inexpensive, and two popular products are the Standee Anti Fatigue Mat and the VARIDESK standing desk floor mat. Alternatively, if you are curious, you can read our review of the Imprint CumulusPRO standing desk mat.

Anti Fatigue Mat
To get the most out of a standing desk, you might want to use an anti-fatigue mat.

5. Transition Gradually

It should also be noted that you should ease into using a standing desk. Going full-time into a standing positing after you’ve been sitting for years can be jarring to your body and result in leg or back pain.

  • Start by alternating between standing and sitting for a few hours at a time until you are accustomed to standing for long periods. This should lessen the initial blow and allow your body to slowly get used to standing for long stretches.
  • You can also look into using a stool with your standing desk as you transition as the stool can help engage your core while giving your legs a rest.

If you’re ready to make the move to a healthier lifestyle and ditch sedentarism, then a standing desk is a great choice. By properly using your desk, you can maximize the benefits and make the transition from sitting to standing as seamless as possible.

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