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Woman working on standing desk

When is Standing Too Much?

The popularity of using a standing desk has many people asking, "how long should I stand for? Does everyone need a standing desk?" Recently a study came out from The British Journal of Sports Medicine with the title of “Associations of occupational standing with musculoskeletal symptoms: a systematic review with meta-analysis.” The full abstract can be found here:  http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/3/176

The essence of the study’s findings are outlined in the objective and conclusion here:

Objective: Given the high exposure to occupational standing in specific occupations, and recent initiatives to encourage intermittent standing among white-collar workers, a better understanding of the potential health consequences of occupational standing is required. We aimed to review and quantify the epidemiological evidence on associations of occupational standing with musculoskeletal symptoms.

Conclusions: The evidence suggests that substantial occupational standing is associated with the occurrence of low-back and (inconclusively) lower extremity symptoms, but there may not be such an association with upper extremity symptoms. However, these conclusions are tentative as only limited evidence was found from high-quality, longitudinal studies with fully adjusted models using objective measures of standing.

Key Takeaways & Our Experience

  • You don’t NEED to have a stand-up option; you just need to move regularly. Check out what we can do for desk workers.
  • Standing too much can cause low back pain and leg pain.
  • Your body is designed to sit and stand throughout the day, and there are many ways to get your standing throughout the day without the need for a sit-to-stand option.
  • Sit-to-stand options can be useful and make the ability to stand more readily available. If you do have this options, here is what you need to look out to ensure proper utilization.
    • Most start at 15-20 mins within the hour in the beginning then it grows.
    • 4-6 hours per day after 30 days.
    • Start off slowly taking breaks.
    • Listen to your body.
    • The flat surface and flat shoes (no heels!)
    • Weight distribution right below hips and arms at a right angle looking straight ahead and slightly down.
    • Don’t do continuous 8 hours of standing.

Additionally, there are some best practices for arranging your desk for the best ergonomics possible. Check out the Free Desk Guide on our homepage to get your free copy of our recommendations.