Does a Standing Desk Improve Posture?
Most of us have been told at one time or another to stand up straight, by a mother or a teacher or a drill sergeant. And they’re not wrong. Good posture offers a wealth of wellness benefits, so it makes sense to improve your standing desk posture and start reaping those rewards.
Some of the benefits of good posture include:
- Reduced headaches
- Better joint health
- Less muscle pain
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy
- Greater confidence
While a standing desk on its own doesn’t guarantee good posture, taking a mindful approach to the way you use a standing desk can certainly help.
What’s Wrong with Sitting Desks?
Sitting may seem like a neutral, innocuous position, but really it is anything but neutral. Sitting for too long adds pressure to your muscles that result in neck and back pain. Many people find themselves slouching over their computer, which adds to the problem.
Sitting for a prolonged period can cause discomfort and pain that can build over time. Prolonged sitting is associated with:
- back pain
- increased stress on back, neck arms, and legs
- pressure on back muscles and spinal disks
- overstretched spinal ligaments from slouching
- strained spinal disks
- damaged spinal structures over time
- recurrent back or neck pain
How a Standing Desk Helps Your Posture
Sitting for more extended periods can put pressure on your back and discs, leading to back, shoulder, and neck discomfort. If you alternating sitting with regular periods of standing at a desk, the right posture position will start to become second nature, relieving some of the compression on your spine that comes from sitting.
What Good Posture Looks Like
Although different people have greater tolerance for standing, generally the human body hasn’t evolved to stand comfortably all day. Our spines have a slight S curve, and we are not designed to stand completely erect.
Although we may recognize good posture when we see it, it takes some conscious effort to practice it during the course of the work day. Whether you’re sitting at the table or standing waiting for the bus, generally good posture means:
- Shoulders back
- Ears aligned over shoulders
- Hips aligned with shoulders
- Feet flat on the ground shoulder width apart (whether standing or sitting)
- Weight resting primarily on the balls of the feet (if standing) or the ischial tuberosities a.k.a. “sit bones” (if sitting)
What Is Proper Standing Desk Posture?
Using a sit stand desk with proper ergonomics can help you have good posture even if you spend hours a day at the computer.
Standing Desk Height Adjustment
First, find the right standing desk height adjustment for you. When you adjust the desk, you’ll know you’ve found the sweet spot when you’re able to meet these ergonomic criteria:
- Your screen should be centered just below eye level, about 20 inches from your face at a 20-degree tilt
- Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle.
- Wrists should be in a neutral position above the keyboard.
You may find that you need to purchase an adjustable monitor arm or a keyboard tray to get your arrangement exactly to your liking.
Standing Desk Posture Tips
Posture means more than just spinal alignment. Maintaining the optimal standing position over time usually requires taking some other actions to keep yourself comfortable.
- Make sure your knees are slightly bent, not locked, to keep circulation flowing and take pressure off your lower back.
- If you find that you naturally shift your weight occasionally from one foot to the other, that’s good.
- Consider a cushioned floor mat to decrease strain on your knees, feet, and legs.
Choose the Right Standing Desk Chair
With a height adjustable desk, the idea is to alternate between sitting and standing. Changing positions not only makes you more comfortable, it also keeps your body healthy and your mind engaged. Whether you’re sitting or standing, maintaining healthy posture is part of the equation.
Even with a standing desk, the right desk chair makes a big difference. Look for a pneumatic height adjustable chair that has lumbar support and a comfortable, supportive back to keep from adding strain to your neck, shoulders, and spine.
- The Sella task chair offers a comfortable and stylish version of all these features.
- The Alta Sella adds even more height adjustability, with full adjustment up to standing desk height.
- Alternately, a height adjustable motion stool like the Sthul encourages active sitting and core muscle engagement.
Ideally, your chair should adjust to the right height for your pneumatic desk surface so you don’t hunch over. Ideally, your arms should be bent at a 90 degree angle, your screen should be directly in front of your eyes, and your feet should rest on the floor.
Take the Next Step for Better Posture at Work
When you work at a desk all day, keeping conscious of better posture is the easiest thing you can do to reap health benefits while working. The right standing desk and an ergonomic desk chair are two important pieces of that equation. Once you have your office setup in place, the rest is up to you!