There is some confusion about how to use a standing desk. Some people assume that a standing desk means standing all day. Trying that, especially if you are new to a standing desk, is going to result in sore feet and possible pain in your hips, knees, back, and neck. After all, standing uses different muscles from sitting and doing any new activity for long stretches of time requires a period of adjustment. However, even people who expect an adjustment period wonder if it is possible to stand for too long. The answer is not as straightforward as you think.
How long is too long?
Generally, prolonged standing is described as standing for more than eight hours a day. There are a number of potential health complications associated with prolonged standing including foot pain, venous insufficiency, and referred pain in the back. People at high risks for this type of pain are people who are standing but are still relatively sedentary, such as cashiers.
What is standing?
Many people think of standing as being on their feet. However, does not equate to being upright. Instead, it refers specifically to standing in one place. The demands on your body are different if you are simply standing or if you are walking, bending, and otherwise moving. The more movement involved, the less stress on any individual muscle and the less likely you are to feel pain or receive injuries from muscle fatigue or overuse due to standing.
Is using a standing desk standing?
For most people, using a standing desk is relatively low movement when using the desk. However, depending on the demands of the job, there will probably be some movement involved. Walking around the office, moving to do different things at your desk, handling other job duties means that most desk workers are not going to be standing still for an entire day. However, if your job primarily requires you to be at your desk, you may have to incorporate some other movements into the day.
What is the optimal time to stand?
People should be aiming at standing two to four hours a day. You do not have to make the transition to standing overnight. Instead, you can gradually increase the amount of time that you are standing.
How much should I sit?
In fact, instead of concentrating on how long you are standing, you should look at how much you are sitting. People do not just sit at work. You sit while you are driving or riding in a car. You probably sit and watch TV. You may sit a lot at home. You want to replace some of that sitting with other activities and standing is one of them.